Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Computational fluid dynamics evaluation of the effect of different city designs on the wind environment of a downwind natural heritage site


Disturbance in wind regime and sand erosion deposition balance may lead to burial and eventual vanishing of a site. This study conducted 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to evaluate the effect of a proposed city design on the wind environment of the Crescent Spring, a downwind natural heritage site located in Dunhuang, Northwestern China. Satellite terrain data from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) were used to construct the solid surface model. Steady-state Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS) with shear stress transport (SST) k- turbulence model were then applied to solve the flow field problems. Land-use changes were modeled implicitly by dividing the underlying surface into different areas and by applying corresponding aerodynamic roughness lengths. Simulations were performed by using cases with different city areas and building heights. Results show that the selected model could capture the surface roughness changes and could adjust wind profile over a large area. Wind profiles varied over the greenfield to the north and over the Gobi land to the east of the spring. Therefore, different wind speed reduction effects were observed from various city construction scenarios. The current city design would lead to about 2 m/s of wind speed reduction at the downwind city edge and about 1 m/s of wind speed reduction at the north of the spring at 35-m height. Reducing the city height in the north greenfield area could efficiently eliminate the negative effects of wind spee. By contrast, restricting the city area worked better in the eastern Gobi area compared with other parts of the study area. Wind speed reduction in areas near the spring could be limited to 0.1 m/s by combining these two abatement strategies. The CFD method could be applied to simulate the wind environment affected by other land-use changes over a large terrain.


computational fluid dynamics; wind environment; wind profile; large terrain; Crescent Spring

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