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On Lateral Dispersion Coefficients as Functions of Averaging Time

C. M. SheihAtmospheric Physics Section, Radiological and Environmental Research Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439

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Abstract

Plume dispersion coefficients are discussed in terms of single-particle and relative diffusion, and are investigated as functions of averaging time. To demonstrate the effects of averaging time on the relative importance of various dispersion processes, an observed lateral wind velocity spectrum is used to compute the lateral dispersion coefficients of total, single-particle and relative diffusion for various averaging times and plume travel times. The results indicate that for a 1 h averaging time the dispersion coefficient of a plume can be approximated by single-particle diffusion alone for travel times <250 s and by relative diffusion for longer travel times. Furthermore, it is shown that the power-law formula suggested by Turner for relating pollutant concentrations for other averaging times to the corresponding 15 min average is applicable to the present example only when the averaging time is less than 200 s and the travel time smaller than about 300 s. Since the turbulence spectrum used in the analysis is an observed one, it is hoped that the results could represent many conditions encountered in the atmosphere. However, as the results depend on the form of turbulence spectrum, the calculations are not for deriving a set of specific criteria but for demonstrating the need in discriminating various processes in studies of plume dispersion.

Abstract

Plume dispersion coefficients are discussed in terms of single-particle and relative diffusion, and are investigated as functions of averaging time. To demonstrate the effects of averaging time on the relative importance of various dispersion processes, an observed lateral wind velocity spectrum is used to compute the lateral dispersion coefficients of total, single-particle and relative diffusion for various averaging times and plume travel times. The results indicate that for a 1 h averaging time the dispersion coefficient of a plume can be approximated by single-particle diffusion alone for travel times <250 s and by relative diffusion for longer travel times. Furthermore, it is shown that the power-law formula suggested by Turner for relating pollutant concentrations for other averaging times to the corresponding 15 min average is applicable to the present example only when the averaging time is less than 200 s and the travel time smaller than about 300 s. Since the turbulence spectrum used in the analysis is an observed one, it is hoped that the results could represent many conditions encountered in the atmosphere. However, as the results depend on the form of turbulence spectrum, the calculations are not for deriving a set of specific criteria but for demonstrating the need in discriminating various processes in studies of plume dispersion.

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