Simulations of photochemical smog formation in complex urban areas

Corné Muilwijk, Patrick Schrijvers, Steve Wuerz, Sasa Kenjeres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study we numerically investigated the dispersion of photochemical reactive pollutants in complex urban areas by applying an integrated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Computational Reaction Dynamics (CRD) approach. To model chemical reactions involved in smog generation, the Generic Reaction Set (GRS) approach is used. The GRS model was selected since it does not require detailed modeling of a large set of reactive components. Smog formation is modeled first in the case of an intensive traffic emission, subjected to low to moderate wind conditions in an idealized two-dimensional street canyon with a building aspect ratio (height/width) of one. It is found that Reactive Organic Components (ROC) play an important role in the chemistry of smog formation. In contrast to the NOx/O3 photochemical steady state model that predicts a depletion of the (ground level) ozone, the GRS model predicts generation of ozone. Secondly, the effect of direct sunlight and shadow within the street canyon on the chemical reaction dynamics is investigated for three characteristic solar angles (morning, midday and afternoon). Large differences of up to one order of magnitude are found in the ozone production for different solar angles. As a proof of concept for real urban areas, the integrated CFD/CRD approach is applied for a real scale (1 × 1 km2) complex urban area (a district of the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands) with high traffic emissions. The predicted pollutant concentration levels give realistic values that correspond to moderate to heavy smog. It is concluded that the integrated CFD/CRD method with the GRS model of chemical reactions is both accurate and numerically robust, and can be used for modeling of smog formation in complex urban areas
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-484
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue numberdec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Computational Fluid Dynamics;
  • Computational Reaction Dynamics
  • Environmental pollution
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Reactive pollutant dispersion
  • Generic Reaction Set
  • Photochemical smog
  • Street canyon
  • Shading effect


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