UP2011 - Urban Physics Winter School 2011

9-14 January 2011, Ascona, Switzerland

Scope | Course information | Programme | Accommodation | Registration | Handouts | Flyer


The global trend towards urbanization is the direct cause for many environmental issues and presents a great risk for human comfort and health. It has been observed that urbanized areas can become up to 10 K warmer than their surrounding rural hinterland - a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island (UHI). This largely affects human comfort, and has an adverse effect on the energy demand for cooling. Additionally, air pollution from industry, traffic and other anthropogenic and natural sources deteriorate air quality and increase the risk of impacts on human health.

In order to propose countermeasures, a fundamental understanding of the underlying physical processes is crucial. The winter course aims at providing the necessary background, from fundamentals to the most recent advances, to researchers and doctoral students in the field. To this extent, the course has been composed as a unique combination of theory, workshops and exercises, covering a wide range of topics including building aerodynamics, turbulence, coherent structures, active and passive scalar transport, numerical modelling and experimental data acquisition techniques. The idea is to bring the participants in contact with leading researchers in the field, to provide a platform for a constructive and open dialogue as well as to incite collaborations between theorists, computational modellers and experimentalists at an international level.


Course information

The format of the course includes lectures, where the theory is taught by experienced researchers, and workshops, where theory is applied through practical exercises. All lectures will be given in English. Lecture notes will be provided.


  • Jan CARMELIET (ETH/Empa, Switzerland)
  • Bert BLOCKEN (TU/e, The Netherlands)
  • Marina NEOPHYTOU (UCY, Cyprus)
  • Peter MOONEN (ETH/Empa, Switzerland)

Organized in collaboration with the Energy Science Center (ESC) of ETHZ.

Invited speakers

  • Thijs DEFRAEYE (KUL, Belgium)
  • Patrick JENNY (ETH, Switzerland)
  • Djamel LAKEHAL (Ascomp GmbH, Switzerland)
  • Christof SURMANN (LaVision, Germany)
  • Jens WALTHER (ETH, Switzerland)


Preliminary programme

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Urban Physics
Simulation Methods
Active and Passive Scalars
Carmeliet & Defraeye
Experimental Methods
Neophytou & Moonen
Field work
lunch lunch lunch lunch lunch
Participant arrival Turbulence
large scale CFD
Excursion good practice CFD
icebreaker dinner dinner dinner dinner


  • Urban Physics. Physics of the atmospheric boundary layer, multi-scale phenomena, interaction between meso- and micro-scale climate, requirements for numerical and experimental techniques for extending our understanding.
  • Turbulence. Turbulence fundamentals, scales in turbulent motion, statistical description, turbulence in the atmosphere, recent developments in the understanding of turbulent fluid flows, instabilities and transition from laminar to turbulent flows.
  • Simulation methods. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), turbulence modelling and other advanced methods for turbulent flow simulation.
  • Active and passive scalars. Transport of active (e.g. heat) and passive (e.g. moisture) scalars, as well as discrete particles (e.g. rain) in the air. Interaction between scalar transport in the air and heat and mass transport in porous media (e.g. ceramic brick).
  • Experimental methods Fundamentals of laboratory and field experiments design, advanced measurement techniques for determining instantaneous velocity fields and scalar concentrations, scope and application of operational models, analysis and simulations for operational purposes, uncertainty and model evaluation.
  • Applications. Taking the step towards current environmental issues like the heat island effect, air pollution, outdoor thermal comfort, and building energy demand. Problem assessment and methodology to design remedial actions.


  • Good practice CFD. Practical training on CFD simulation of the atmospheric boundary layers: generalized Richardson extrapolation, wall-functions versus near-wall modeling, etc.
  • Large scale CFD. Practical training on reliable CFD analyses for wind engineering applications: LES and V-LES, immersed surface technique (IST), block mesh refinement (BMR), etc.



Participants will stay at the Centro Stefano Franscini conference centre at Monte Verita. The centre is situated on the hill behind Ascona, overlooking Lago Maggiore. Since only a limited number of single rooms is available on-site, room sharing is encouraged. The registration form has an option to specify the name of someone you wish to share with. For single rooms a surcharge has to be paid. Lunch and dinner are buffet meals with drinks and coffee included. The first meal is an evening meal on Sunday the 9th, and the last meal is lunch on Friday the 14th.



Participants can register until August 31, 2010. The school fee is 700 CHF (~495 euro) per person, and covers registration, course material, accommodation and full board. Payments have to be made in advance upon receipt of invoice. A letter of confirmation will be sent to the registered participants after payment has been received. The number of participants is limited to 25.

Registration is now closed - the winter school is fully booked.



Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.


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