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Philip L. Haagenson, Ying-Hwa Kuo, Marina Syumanich, and Nelson L. Seaman

Abstract

Perfluorocarbon tracer data collected during the Cross Appalachian Tracer Experiment (CAPTEX '83) are used to determine the accuracy of three trajectory models: an isentropic, an isobaric, and a dimensional sigma model. The root-mean-square separation between model trajectories and trajectories derived from the surface tracer concentration is used to evaluate the models and assess the validity of isobaric, isentropic, isosigma, and mean transport vector assumptions. The root-mean-square data suggest that wind flow corresponding approximately to the low to middle boundary layer is the most appropriate for simulating the transport of boundary layer pollutants, and that the isentropic and isosigma transport assumptions are more realistic than the isobaric assumption, The results also indicate that synoptic type and the diurnal variation of mixing and wind shell within the boundary layer can affect the magnitude of root-mean-square separation between tracer trajectory and transport model trajectories. The uncertainty of the trajectory error suggested by the root-mean- square separation is approximately 50 km. Comparison of the tracer study with a theoretical study suggests that surface tracer data are useful for quantifying the magnitude of error in trajectory model calculations of boundary layer transport.

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