Evaluation of an operational air quality model using large-eddy simulation

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Title: Evaluation of an operational air quality model using large-eddy simulation
Authors: Grylls, T
Le Cornec, CMA
Salizzoni, P
Soulhac, L
Stettler, MEJ
Van Reeuwijk, M
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The large-eddy simulation (LES) model uDALES is used to evaluate the predictive skill of the operational air quality model SIRANE. The use of LES in this study presents a novel approach to air quality model evaluation, avoiding sources of uncertainty and providing numerical control that permits systematic analysis of targeted parametrisations and assumptions. A case study is conducted over South Kensington, London with the morphology, emissions, meteorological conditions and boundary conditions carefully matched in both models. The dispersion of both inert (NOx) and reactive (NO, NO2 and O3) pollutants under neutral, steady-state conditions is simulated for a south-westerly and westerly wind direction. A quantitative comparison between the two models is performed using statistical indices (the fractional bias, FB, the normalised mean squared error, NMSE, and the fraction in a factor of 2, FAC2). SIRANE is shown to successfully capture the dominant trends with respect to canyon-averaged concentrations of inert NOx (FB = -0.08, NMSE = 0.08 and FAC2 = 1.0). The prediction of along-canyon velocities is shown to exhibit sources of systematic error dependant on the angle of incidence of the mean wind (FB = -0.18). The assumption of photostationarity within SIRANE (deviations from equilibrium of up to 170% exist close to busy roads) is also identified as a significant source of systematic bias resulting in over- and underpredictions of NO2 (FB = -0.18) and O3 (FB = 0.14) respectively. The validity of the assumed uniform in-canyon concentration is assessed by analysing the pedestrian, leeward and windward concentrations resolved in uDALES. The use of canyon-averaged concentrations to predict pedestrian level exposure is shown to result in significant underestimations. Linear regression is used to effectively capture the relationship between pedestrian- and canyon-averaged concentrations in uDALES. Correction factors are derived (m ≈ 1.62 and R 2 = 0.92 for inert NOx) that are capable of significantly improving SIRANE’s ability to assess pedestrian level exposure for the conditions investigated in this study. The prevalence of intersections and advective nature of the shear layer are highlighted as important differences between modelling real heterogeneous urban morphology and idealised infinite canyons.
Issue Date: 31-Jul-2019
Date of Acceptance: 16-Jun-2019
ISSN: 2590-1621
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal / Book Title: Atmospheric Environment: X
Volume: 3
Copyright Statement: © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN 100041
Online Publication Date: 2019-07-03
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering

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