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Evaluation of Dispersion Forecasts Driven by Atmospheric Model Output at Coarse and Fine Resolution

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  • 1 Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
  • | 2 Computer Sciences Corporation, Monterey, California
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Abstract

Lagrangian parcel models are often used to predict the fate of airborne hazardous material releases. The atmospheric input for these integrations is typically supplied by surrounding surface and upper-air observations. However, situations may arise in which observations are unavailable and numerical model forecasts may be the only source of atmospheric data. In this study, the quality of the atmospheric forecasts for use in dispersion applications is investigated as a function of the horizontal grid spacing of the atmospheric model. The Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) was used to generate atmospheric forecasts for 14 separate Dipole Pride 26 trials. The simulations consisted of four telescoping one-way nested grids with horizontal spacings of 27, 9, 3, and 1 km, respectively. The 27- and 1-km forecasts were then used as input for dispersion forecasts using the Hazard Prediction Assessment Capability (HPAC) modeling system. The resulting atmospheric and dispersion forecasts were then compared with meteorological and gas-dosage observations collected during Dipole Pride 26. Although the 1-km COAMPS forecasts displayed considerably more detail than those on the 27-km grid, the RMS and bias statistics associated with the atmospheric observations were similar. However, statistics from the HPAC forecasts showed the 1-km atmospheric forcing produced more accurate trajectories than the 27-km output when compared with the dosage measurements.

Corresponding author address: Jason E. Nachamkin, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Monterey, CA 93943. Email: jason.nachamkin@nrlmry.navy.mil

Abstract

Lagrangian parcel models are often used to predict the fate of airborne hazardous material releases. The atmospheric input for these integrations is typically supplied by surrounding surface and upper-air observations. However, situations may arise in which observations are unavailable and numerical model forecasts may be the only source of atmospheric data. In this study, the quality of the atmospheric forecasts for use in dispersion applications is investigated as a function of the horizontal grid spacing of the atmospheric model. The Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) was used to generate atmospheric forecasts for 14 separate Dipole Pride 26 trials. The simulations consisted of four telescoping one-way nested grids with horizontal spacings of 27, 9, 3, and 1 km, respectively. The 27- and 1-km forecasts were then used as input for dispersion forecasts using the Hazard Prediction Assessment Capability (HPAC) modeling system. The resulting atmospheric and dispersion forecasts were then compared with meteorological and gas-dosage observations collected during Dipole Pride 26. Although the 1-km COAMPS forecasts displayed considerably more detail than those on the 27-km grid, the RMS and bias statistics associated with the atmospheric observations were similar. However, statistics from the HPAC forecasts showed the 1-km atmospheric forcing produced more accurate trajectories than the 27-km output when compared with the dosage measurements.

Corresponding author address: Jason E. Nachamkin, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Monterey, CA 93943. Email: jason.nachamkin@nrlmry.navy.mil

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