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Steven R. Hanna and Robert J. Paine

Abstract

The Hybrid Plume Dispersion Model (HPDM) was developed for application to tall stack plumes dispersing over nearly flat terrain. Emphasis is on convective and high-wind conditions. The meteorological component is based on observational and modeling studies of the planetary boundary layer. The dispersion estimates for the convective boundary layer (CBL) were developed from laboratory experiments and field studies and incorporate convective scaling, i.e., the convective velocity scale, w *, and the CBL height, h, which are the relevant velocity and length scales of the turbulence. The model has a separate component to handle the dispersion of highly buoyant plumes that remain near the top of the CBL and resist downward mixing. For convective conditions, the vertical concentration distribution is non-Gaussian, but for neutral and stable conditions it is assumed to be Gaussian. The HPDM performance is assessed with extensive ground-level concentration measurements around the Kincaid, Illinois, and Bull Run, Tennessee, power plants. It was also tested with limited data during high-wind conditions at five other power plants. The model is found to be an improvement over the standard regulatory model, MPTER, during light-wind convective conditions and high-wind neutral conditions.

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Adel F. Hanna, Duane E. Stevens, and Elmar R. Reiter

Abstract

A two-level, global, spectral model is used to study the response of the atmosphere to sea surface temperature anomalies. Two sea surface temperature anomaly patterns are investigated. The first, called the El Niño pattern (Experiment 1), represents a warm anomaly in the equatorial Pacific, whereas the second pattern (Experiment 2) represents coupled midlatitude (cold)/ equatorial (warm) sea surface temperature anomalies in the pacific Ocean.

The results demonstrate that both of these sea surface temperature anomaly patterns produce statistically significant midtropospheric geopotential responses in middle latitudes. However, the geopotential response forced by the coupled sea surface temperature anomaly is qualitatively more similar to the geopotential height pattern which is observed in association with the negative phase of the Southern Oscillation (Horel and Wallace). Analysis of the differences (anomaly minus control) of the meridional transports of momentum. sensible heat and latent heat indicates that the coupled pattern tends to largely enhance the northward transports of momentum and sensible heat, especially for the transient and stationary eddy components. The maximum difference in the total (transient, stationary eddies and mean meridional circulation) transport of momentum is nearly double that revealed by the El Niño experiment.

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Joseph C. Chang, Pasquale Franzese, Kittisak Chayantrakom, and Steven R. Hanna

Abstract

Results of evaluations of transport and dispersion models with field data are summarized. The California Puff (CALPUFF), Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability (HPAC), and Chemical/Biological Agent Vapor, Liquid, and Solid Tracking (VLSTRACK) models were compared using two recent mesoscale field datasets—the Dipole Pride 26 (DP26) and the Overland Along-wind Dispersion (OLAD). Both field experiments involved instantaneous releases of sulfur hexafluoride tracer gas in a mesoscale region with desert basins and mountains. DP26 involved point sources, and OLAD involved line sources. Networks of surface wind observations and special radiosonde and pilot balloon soundings were available, and tracer concentrations were observed along lines of whole-air samplers and some fast-response instruments at distances up to 20 km. The models were evaluated using the maximum 3-h dosage (concentration integrated over time) along a sampling line. It was found that the solutions were highly dependent upon the diagnostic wind field model used to interpolate the spatially variable observed wind fields. At the DP26 site, CALPUFF and HPAC had better performance than VLSTRACK. Overall, the three models had mean biases within 35% and random scatters of about a factor of 3–4. About 50%–60% of CALPUFF and HPAC predictions and about 40% of VLSTRACK predictions were within a factor of 2 of observations. At the OLAD site, all three models underpredicted by a factor of 2–3, on average, with random scatters of a factor of 3–7. About 50% of HPAC predictions and only 25%–30% of CALPUFF and VLSTRACK predictions were within a factor of 2 of observations.

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Joseph C. Chang, Steven R. Hanna, Zafer Boybeyi, and Pasquale Franzese

Abstract

After the terrorist incidents on 11 September 2001, there is a greatly heightened concern about the potential impacts of acts of terrorism involving the atmospheric release of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials in urban areas. In response to the need for an urban CBRN model, the Urban Hazard Prediction Assessment Capability (Urban HPAC) transport and dispersion model has been developed. Because HPAC is widely used by the Department of Defense community for planning, training, and operational and tactical purposes, it is of great importance that the new model be adequately evaluated with urban datasets to demonstrate its accuracy. This paper describes evaluations of Urban HPAC using the “URBAN 2000” urban tracer and meteorological field experiment data from Salt Lake City, Utah. Four Urban HPAC model configuration options and five plausible meteorological input data options—ranging from data-sparse to data-rich scenarios—were considered in the study, thus leading to a total of 20 possible model combinations. For the maximum concentrations along each sampling arc for each intensive operating period (IOP), the 20 Urban HPAC model combinations gave consistent mean overpredictions of about 50%, with a range over the 20 model combinations from no overprediction to a factor-of-4 overprediction in the mean. The median of the random scatter for the 20 model combinations was about a factor of 3 of the mean, with a range over the 20 model combinations between a factor of about 2 and 9. These performance measures satisfy previously established acceptance criteria for dispersion models.

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Pablo Huq, Louis A. White, Alejandro Carrillo, Jose Redondo, Seshu Dharmavaram, and Steven R. Hanna

Abstract

The nature and role of the shear layer, which occurs at the level of the average building height in urban canopies, are poorly understood. Velocity data are analyzed to determine the characteristics of the shear layer of the urban canopy, defined as the broad, linear segment of the mean velocity profile in a region of high shear. Particle image velocimetry measurements in a water tunnel were undertaken to resolve velocity profiles for urban canopies of two geometries typical of Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York, for which the aspect ratios (average building height-to-width ratio) H/wb are 1 and 3, respectively. The shear layers evolve with distance differently: For H/wb = 1 the urban canopy shear layer extends quickly from above the building height to ground level, whereas for H/wb = 3 the urban canopy shear layer remains elevated at the vicinity of the building height, only reaching to a depth of z/H ∼ 0.5 far downstream. Profiles of the mean velocity gradient also differ from each other for urban canopies associated with H/wb of 1 or 3. Values of shear dU/dz increase toward ground level for an urban canopy associated with H/wb = 1. For an urban canopy associated with H/wb = 3, localized peaks of shear dU/dz exist at the building height and at ground level, with values of shear decreasing to zero at building midheight and far above the building height. A consequence of the different forms of the shear layers of the two urban canopies is that the ground-level dispersion coefficient is likely to be greater for urban canopies associated with H/wb = 1 than for those associated with H/wb = 3 because of an increased ventilation and exchange mechanism for cities such as Los Angeles relative to cities such as New York City that possess urban canyons.

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Steven R. Hanna, David G. Strimaitis, Joseph S. Scire, Gary E. Moore, and Robert C. Kessler

Abstract

The subject of this paper is an overview of the data analysis collected during the comprehensive five-week South-Central Coast Cooperative Air Monitoring Program (SCCCAMP 1985) in California during September and October 1985. The various data analyses have been designed to develop a better understanding of the atmospheric processes that cause elevated ozone concentrations in the region, which includes Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The data analyses lead to the conclusion that the ozone episodes observed during the field study are typical of those occurring during the past several years and are most strongly correlated with clear skies, high temperatures (i.e., warm high pressure), and with pressure gradients that would imply an easterly component to the wind flow. These episodes are also marked by mixing depths of 100 m or less over the water and by low mixing depths (i.e., a few hundred meters) over the coastal plains. While it is clear that much of the local ozone is caused by local sources, it is also evident that during many ozone episodes, ozone and its precursors are advected into the region from sources to the east, in the vicinity of Los Angeles. Observed ozone and wind patterns suggest that this advection sometimes takes place at elevations of a few hundred meters through inland valleys and along the coast, and sometimes it takes place in a shallow layer near the surface over the coastal ocean. Because of the presence of time-varying sea breezes and mesoscale eddies, it is possible for recirculation of pollutants to occur, as verified by tracer experiments conducted during the field study.

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Steven R. Hanna, Robert Paine, David Heinold, Elizabeth Kintigh, and Dan Baker

Abstract

The uncertainties in simulations of annually averaged concentrations of two air toxics (benzene and 1,3-butadiene) are estimated for two widely used U.S. air quality models, the Industrial Source Complex Short-Term, version 3, (ISCST3) model and the American Meteorological Society–Environmental Protection Agency Model (AERMOD). The effects of uncertainties in emissions input, meteorological input, and dispersion model parameters are investigated using Monte Carlo probabilistic uncertainty methods, which involve simultaneous random and independent perturbations of all inputs. The focus is on a 15 km × 15 km domain in the Houston, Texas, ship channel area. Concentrations are calculated at hypothetical receptors located at the centroids of population census tracts. The model outputs that are analyzed are the maximum annually averaged maximum concentration at any single census tract or monitor as well as the annually averaged concentration averaged over the census tracts. The input emissions uncertainties are estimated to be about a factor of 3 (i.e., covering the 95% range) for each of several major categories. The uncertainties in meteorological inputs (such as wind speed) and dispersion model parameters (such as the vertical dispersion coefficient σz) also are estimated. The results show that the 95% range in predicted annually averaged concentrations is about a factor of 2–3 for the air toxics, with little variation by model. The input variables whose variations have the strongest effect on the predicted concentrations are on-road mobile sources and some industrial sources (dependent on chemical), as well as wind speed, surface roughness, and σz. In most scenarios, the uncertainties of the emissions input group contribute more to the total uncertainty than do the uncertainties of the meteorological/dispersion input group.

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Steven R. Hanna, Michael J. Brown, Fernando E. Camelli, Stevens T. Chan, William J. Coirier, Olav R. Hansen, Alan H. Huber, Sura Kim, and R. Michael Reynolds

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model simulations of urban boundary layers have improved in speed and accuracy so that they are useful in assisting in planning emergency response activities related to releases of chemical or biological agents into the atmosphere in large cities such as New York, New York. In this paper, five CFD models [CFD-Urban, Finite Element Flow (FEFLO), Finite Element Model in 3D and Massively-Parallel version (FEM3MP), FLACS, and FLUENT–Environmental Protection Agency (FLUENT-EPA)] have been applied to the same 3D building data and geographic domain in Manhattan, using approximately the same wind input conditions. Wind flow observations are available from the Madison Square Garden 2005 (MSG05) field experiment. Plots of the CFD models' simulations and the observations of near-surface wind fields lead to the qualitative conclusion that the models generally agree with each other and with field observations over most parts of the computational domain, within typical atmospheric uncertainties of a factor of 2. The results are useful to emergency responders, suggesting, for example, that transport of a release at street level in a large city could extend for a few blocks in the upwind and crosswind directions. There are still key differences among the models for certain parts of the domain. Further examination of the differences among the models and the observations are necessary in order to understand the causal relationships.

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