Should we care about the level of detail in trees when running urban microscale simulations?

Runnan Fu*, Ivan Pađen, Clara García-Sánchez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Due to lack of information and long geometry generation times, tree geometries are usually oversimplified or even ignored in Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) simulations that predict wind and pollutant dispersion in urban areas. Nevertheless, trees are known to impact local wind patterns and air quality levels. Thus, in this paper we explore the effects that tree models automatically reconstructed at diverse Level of Detail (LoD) (1, 2 and 3) have in numerical wind predictions. We address this by comparing the non-dimensional velocity magnitude differences between simulations with multiple tree LoDs. To further understand these differences in changing environmental contexts we use three morphologies: an isolated tree, an idealized street, canyon, and a real urban geometry from Rotterdam, The Netherlands The numerical results show that the velocity magnitude differences between the cases with LoD1 tree models and those with LoD2 tree models can be over 1.0 m/s while the differences between LoD2 and LoD3 cases are rather limited, usually lower than 0.2 m/s. Consequently, through this study we highlight the importance of using tree models in LoD2 or LoD3 at least for CFD simulations of wind flows in urban areas. To further support this conclusion we also analyze the impact of changing wind directions and tree Leaf Area Density (LAD) values in the impact of tree LoDs on wind. The differences found in this work linked to the level of realism in your tree models can support future studies where researchers want to make an informed choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105143
Number of pages24
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • CFD
  • Level of detail
  • Tree model
  • Urban area
  • Wind flow


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