The Influence of Atmospheric Stability on Wind Drift from Ultra-Low-volume Aerial Forest Spray Applications

R. S. Crabbe Institute for Aerospace Research, National Research Council, Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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M. McCooeye Institute for Environmental Chemistry, National Research Council, Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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R. E. Mickle Atmospheric Environment Service, Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Abstract

Measurements of drift cloud mass from 11 cases selected from a study of wind-borne droplet drift from ultra low-volume aerial spray applications over northern Ontario forests are presented as a function of atmospheric stability. Six swaths were overlaid onto a flight line in 30 min to obtain ensemble-averaged data from rotary atomizer emissions from an agricultural spray plane flying at about 21 and 26 m above ground level. The estimated volume median diameters of the spray were 100 µm for the 21-m height and 70 µm for the 26-m height. The mass of spray material in the drift cloud was measured at 400, 1200, and 2200 m downwind of the (crosswind) flight line using Rotorods™ suspended from tethered blimps. Wind speed at aircraft height varied from 2 to 5 m s−1 and meteorological conditions varied from moderately stable to moderately unstable.

Analysis of the data revealed that 35% more drift occurred in stable than in unstable conditions. The lowest drift was measured when the aircraft was flown in the morning mixing layer beneath a low capping inversion. Under thee conditions, only 18% of the emission drifted put 400 m downwind and 10% past 1200 m. The highest drift occurred in moderately stable flow, 71% past 400 m and 50% past 2200 m in 3 m s−1 wind speeds and, in slightly stable flow, 77% past 400 m and 27% past 2200 m in 5 m s−1 wind speeds.

Within experimental error, little difference was observed between wind drift of the 100-µm-diameter droplets and the 70-µm-diameter droplets past 400 m downwind although farther downwind, drift from the larger-droplet emission was less. This difference is discussed in terms of the descent rate of the aircraft vortex wake in stable conditions.

Abstract

Measurements of drift cloud mass from 11 cases selected from a study of wind-borne droplet drift from ultra low-volume aerial spray applications over northern Ontario forests are presented as a function of atmospheric stability. Six swaths were overlaid onto a flight line in 30 min to obtain ensemble-averaged data from rotary atomizer emissions from an agricultural spray plane flying at about 21 and 26 m above ground level. The estimated volume median diameters of the spray were 100 µm for the 21-m height and 70 µm for the 26-m height. The mass of spray material in the drift cloud was measured at 400, 1200, and 2200 m downwind of the (crosswind) flight line using Rotorods™ suspended from tethered blimps. Wind speed at aircraft height varied from 2 to 5 m s−1 and meteorological conditions varied from moderately stable to moderately unstable.

Analysis of the data revealed that 35% more drift occurred in stable than in unstable conditions. The lowest drift was measured when the aircraft was flown in the morning mixing layer beneath a low capping inversion. Under thee conditions, only 18% of the emission drifted put 400 m downwind and 10% past 1200 m. The highest drift occurred in moderately stable flow, 71% past 400 m and 50% past 2200 m in 3 m s−1 wind speeds and, in slightly stable flow, 77% past 400 m and 27% past 2200 m in 5 m s−1 wind speeds.

Within experimental error, little difference was observed between wind drift of the 100-µm-diameter droplets and the 70-µm-diameter droplets past 400 m downwind although farther downwind, drift from the larger-droplet emission was less. This difference is discussed in terms of the descent rate of the aircraft vortex wake in stable conditions.

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