Effects of a fence on pollutant dispersion in a boundary layer exposed to a rural-to-urban transition

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Simultaneous particle-image velocimetry and laser-induced fluorescence combined with large-eddy simulations are used to investigate the flow and pollutant dispersion behaviour in a rural-to-urban roughness transition. The urban roughness is characterized by an array of cubical obstacles in an aligned arrangement. A plane fence is added one obstacle height h upstream of the urban roughness elements, with three different fence heights considered. A smooth-wall turbulent boundary layer with a depth of 10h is used as the approaching flow, and a passive tracer is released from a uniform line source 1h upstream of the fence. A shear layer is formed at the top of the fence, which increases in strength for the higher fence cases, resulting in a deeper internal boundary layer (IBL). It is found that the mean flow for the rural-to-urban transition can be described by means of a mixing-length model provided that the transitional effects are accounted for. The mixing-length formulation for sparse urban canopies, as found in the literature, is extended to take into account the blockage effect in dense canopies. Additionally, the average mean concentration field is found to scale with the IBL depth and the bulk velocity in the IBL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-208
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Large-eddy simulation
  • Laser-induced fluorescence
  • Mixing-length model
  • Pollutant dispersion
  • Stereoscopic particle-image velocimetry


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