A numerical case study with a second-order turbulence closure model is proposed to study the role of urban canopy layer (UCL) for the formation of the nocturnal urban boundary layer (UBL). The turbulent diffusion coefficient was determined from an algebraic stress model. The concept of urban building surface area density is proposed to represent the UCL. Calculated results were also compared with field observation data. The height of the elevated inversion above an urban center was simulated and found to be approximately twice the average building height. The turbulent kinetic energy k, energy dissipation rate ε, and turbulence intensities 〈u2〉 and 〈w2〉 increase rapidly at the upwind edge of the urban area. The Reynolds stress 〈uw〉 displayed a nearly uniform profile inside the UBL, and the vertical sensible heat flux 〈wθ〉 had a negative value at the inversion base height. This indicates that the downward transport of sensible heat from the inversion base may play an important role in the formation of the nocturnal UBL.
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