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Wind observations above an urban river using a new lidar technique, scintillometry and anemometry

: Wood, C.R.; Pauscher, L.; Ward, H.C.; Kotthaus, S.; Barlow, J.F.; Gouvea, M.; Lane, S.E.; Grimmond, C.S.B.

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Science of the Total Environment 442 (2013), pp.527-533
ISSN: 0048-9697
ISSN: 1879-1026
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWES ()

Airflow along rivers might provide a key mechanism for ventilation in cities: important for air quality and thermal comfort. Airflow varies in space and time in the vicinity of rivers. Consequently, there is limited utility in point measurements. Ground-based remote sensing offers the opportunity to study 3D airflow in locations which are difficult to observe with conventional approaches. For three months in the winter and spring of 2011, the airflow above the River Thames in central London was observed using a scanning Doppler lidar, a scintillometer and sonic anemometers. First, an inter-comparison showed that lidar-derived mean wind-speed estimates compare almost as well to sonic anemometers (root-mean-square error (rmse) 0.65–0.68 m s− 1) as comparisons between sonic anemometers (0.35–0.73 m s− 1). Second, the lidar duo-beam operating strategy provided horizontal transects of wind vectors (comparison with scintillometer rmse 1.12–1.63 m s− 1) which revealed mean and turbulent airflow across the river and surrounds; in particular, channelled airflow along the river and changes in turbulence quantities consistent with the roughness changes between built and river environments. The results have important consequences for air quality and dispersion around urban rivers, especially given that many cities have high traffic rates on roads located on riverbanks.