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Development and Application of 2D and 3D GRASS Modules for Simulation of Thermally Driven Slope Winds

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The ability to manage and process fully three-dimensional information has only recently been made available for a few Geographical Information Systems (GIS). An example of integrated and complementary use of 2D and 3D GRASS modules for the evaluation and representation of thermally induced slope winds over complex terrain is presented. The analytic solution provided by Prandtl (1942) to evaluate wind velocity and (potential) temperature anomaly induced by either diurnal heating or nocturnal cooling on a constant angle slope is adopted to evaluate wind and temperature profiles at any point over both idealised and real complex terrain. As these quantities depend on the slope angle of the ground and on the distance from the slope surface suitable procedures are introduced to determine the coordinate n of a point in the 3D volume measured along the direction locally normal to the terrain surface. A new GRASS module has been developed to evaluate this quantity and to generate a 3D raster file where each cell is assigned the value of the cell on the surface belonging to the normal vector. The application of the algorithm implemented in GRASS to an ideal valley and to a real valley close to the city of Trento in the Alps provides results in accordance with data reported in the literature. An extension of Prandtl's (1942) model to take into account humidity and evaporation processes on the soil is also proposed and implemented.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Ambientale Università degli Studi di Trento

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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