Numerical simulation of the urban boundary layer over the complex terrain of Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3549-3563
Journal / PublicationAtmospheric Environment
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


Due to the complexity of the underlying surface, urban boundary layers may exhibit very different wind-temperature field structures compared with rural areas. In this study, an urban boundary layer model with a resolution of 500 m is applied to Hong Kong, a place characterized by complex topography with high mountains and dense urban developments. Five surface land use types are considered; grass and shrub land, trees, water, old urban areas and new town developments. The urban boundary layer model is embedded into the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesoscale Model, version 5 (MM5). The initial and boundary conditions are obtained from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/NCAR reanalysis dataset. The modeling approach therefore takes into account both the mesoscale background field and the urban underlying surface. The model is applied to the simulation of a pollution episode in Hong Kong. Results show good agreement with meteorological data for the surface winds and temperature. The model successfully simulates the urban heat island and the occurrence of a sea-land breeze circulation, and their impact on air pollutant transport and dispersion. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Complex topography, Energy balance model, Sea-land breeze, Urban boundary layer