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Implicit Definition of Flow Patterns in Street Canyons—Recirculation Zone—Using Exploratory Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-06-30, 08:12 and posted on 2024-06-30, 08:12 authored by Arsenios E. Chatzimichailidis, Christos D. Argyropoulos, Marc J. Assael, Konstantinos E. Kakosimos

Air pollution is a major health hazard for the population that increasingly lives in cities. Street-scale Air Quality Models (AQMs) are a cheap and efficient way to study air pollution and possibly provide solutions. Having to include all the complex phenomena of wind flow between buildings, AQMs employ several parameterisations, one of which is the recirculation zone. Goal of this study is to derive an implicit or explicit definition for the recirculation zone from the flow in street canyons using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Therefore, a CFD-Large Eddy Simulation model was employed to investigate street canyons with height to width ratio from 1 to 0.20 under perpendicular wind direction. The developed dataset was analyzed with traditional methods (vortex visualization criteria and pollutant dispersion fields), as well as clustering methods (machine learning). Combining the above analyses, it was possible to extract qualitative features that agree well with literature but most importantly to develop quantitative expressions that describe their topology. The extracted features’ topology depends strongly on the street canyon dimensions and not surprisingly is independent of the wind velocity. The developed expressions describe areas with common flow characteristics inside the canyon and thus they can be characterised as an implicit definition for the recirculation zone. Furthermore, the presented methodology can be further applied to cover more parameters such us oblique wind direction and heated-facades and more methods for data analysis.

Other Information

Published in: Atmosphere
See article on publisher's website:


Qatar National Research Fund (NPRP 7-674-2-252), Advanced emergency preparedness and response tools for airborne hazardous materials in urban.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2019

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Texas A&M University at Qatar
  • Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center - TAMUQ