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A Theoretical and Numerical Study of Urban Heat Island–Induced Circulation and Convection

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  • 1 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
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Abstract

Urban heat island–induced circulation and convection in three dimensions are investigated theoretically and numerically in the context of the response of a stably stratified uniform flow to specified low-level heating that represents an urban heat island. In a linear, theoretical part of the investigation, an analytic solution for the perturbation vertical velocity in a three-dimensional, time-dependent, hydrostatic, nonrotating, inviscid, Boussinesq airflow system is obtained. The solution reveals a typical internal gravity wave field, including low-level upward motion downwind of the heating center. Precipitation enhancement observed downwind of urban areas may be partly due to this downwind upward motion. The comparison of two- and three-dimensional flow fields indicates that the dispersion of gravity wave energy into an additional dimension results in a faster approach to a quasi-steady state and a weaker quasi-steady flow well above the concentrated heating region in three dimensions.

In a nonlinear, numerical modeling part of the investigation, extensive dry and moist simulations using a nonhydrostatic, compressible model with advanced physical parameterizations [Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS)] are performed. While the maximum perturbation vertical velocity in the linear internal gravity wave field exists in the downwind region close to the heating center, the maximum updraft in three-dimensional dry simulations propagates downwind and then becomes quasi stationary. In three-dimensional moist simulations, it is demonstrated that the downwind upward motion induced by an urban heat island can initiate moist convection and result in downwind precipitation. The cloud induced by the downwind upward motion grows rapidly to become deep convective clouds. Heavy rainfalls are localized in a region not far from the heating center by a convective precipitating system that is nearly stationary. The differences in results between two and three dimensions are explained by the presence of (moist) convergence in an additional dimension. The numerical simulation results indicate that the intensity and horizontal structure of the urban heat island affect those of circulation and convection and hence the distribution of surface precipitation.

Corresponding author address: Jong-Jin Baik, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea. Email: jjbaik@snu.ac.kr

Abstract

Urban heat island–induced circulation and convection in three dimensions are investigated theoretically and numerically in the context of the response of a stably stratified uniform flow to specified low-level heating that represents an urban heat island. In a linear, theoretical part of the investigation, an analytic solution for the perturbation vertical velocity in a three-dimensional, time-dependent, hydrostatic, nonrotating, inviscid, Boussinesq airflow system is obtained. The solution reveals a typical internal gravity wave field, including low-level upward motion downwind of the heating center. Precipitation enhancement observed downwind of urban areas may be partly due to this downwind upward motion. The comparison of two- and three-dimensional flow fields indicates that the dispersion of gravity wave energy into an additional dimension results in a faster approach to a quasi-steady state and a weaker quasi-steady flow well above the concentrated heating region in three dimensions.

In a nonlinear, numerical modeling part of the investigation, extensive dry and moist simulations using a nonhydrostatic, compressible model with advanced physical parameterizations [Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS)] are performed. While the maximum perturbation vertical velocity in the linear internal gravity wave field exists in the downwind region close to the heating center, the maximum updraft in three-dimensional dry simulations propagates downwind and then becomes quasi stationary. In three-dimensional moist simulations, it is demonstrated that the downwind upward motion induced by an urban heat island can initiate moist convection and result in downwind precipitation. The cloud induced by the downwind upward motion grows rapidly to become deep convective clouds. Heavy rainfalls are localized in a region not far from the heating center by a convective precipitating system that is nearly stationary. The differences in results between two and three dimensions are explained by the presence of (moist) convergence in an additional dimension. The numerical simulation results indicate that the intensity and horizontal structure of the urban heat island affect those of circulation and convection and hence the distribution of surface precipitation.

Corresponding author address: Jong-Jin Baik, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea. Email: jjbaik@snu.ac.kr

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