Performance Evaluation of Dense Gas Dispersion Models

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  • a Atmospheric Sciences Modeling Division, Air Resources Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • | b Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • | c Missoula Technology and Development Center, USDA Forest Service, Missoula, Montana
  • | d TRC Environmental Corp., Austin, Texas
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Abstract

This paper summarizes the results of a study to evaluate the performance of seven dense gas dispersion models using data from three field experiments. Two models (DEGADIS and SLAB) are in the public domain and the other five (AIRTOX, CHARM, FOCUS, SAFEMODE, and TRACE) are proprietary. The field data used are the Desert Tortoise pressurized ammonia releases, Burro liquefied natural gas spill tests, and the Goldfish anhydrous hydrofluoric acid spill experiments. Desert Tortoise and Goldfish releases were simulated as horizontal jet releases, and Burro as a liquid pool. Performance statistics were used to compare maximum observed concentrations and plume half-width to those predicted by each model. Model performance varied and no model exhibited consistently good performance across all three databases. However, when combined across the three databases, all models performed within a factor of 2. Problems encountered are discussed in order to help future investigators.

Abstract

This paper summarizes the results of a study to evaluate the performance of seven dense gas dispersion models using data from three field experiments. Two models (DEGADIS and SLAB) are in the public domain and the other five (AIRTOX, CHARM, FOCUS, SAFEMODE, and TRACE) are proprietary. The field data used are the Desert Tortoise pressurized ammonia releases, Burro liquefied natural gas spill tests, and the Goldfish anhydrous hydrofluoric acid spill experiments. Desert Tortoise and Goldfish releases were simulated as horizontal jet releases, and Burro as a liquid pool. Performance statistics were used to compare maximum observed concentrations and plume half-width to those predicted by each model. Model performance varied and no model exhibited consistently good performance across all three databases. However, when combined across the three databases, all models performed within a factor of 2. Problems encountered are discussed in order to help future investigators.

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