Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 8, 18843-18891, 2008
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/18843/2008/
doi:10.5194/acpd-8-18843-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Technical Note: A new method for the Lagrangian tracking of pollution plumes from source to receptor using gridded model output
R. C. Owen and R. E. Honrath
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA

Abstract. Lagrangian particle dispersion models (LPDMs) are powerful and popular tools used for the analysis of atmospheric trace gas measurements. However, it can be difficult to determine the transport pathway of emissions from their source to a receptor using the standard gridded model output, particularly during complex meteorological scenarios. In this paper we present a method to clearly and easily identify the pathway taken by only those emissions that arrive at a receptor at a particular time, by combining the standard gridded output from forward (i.e., concentrations) and backward (i.e., residence time) LPDM simulations. By comparing the pathway determined from this method with the particle trajectories from both the forward and backward models, we show that this method successfully restores much of the Lagrangian information that is lost when the data are gridded. A sample analysis is presented, demonstrating that this method is more accurate and easier to use than existing methods using standard LPDM products. Finally, we discuss the potential for combining the backward LPDM simulation with gridded data from other sources (e.g., chemical transport models) to obtain a Lagrangian sampling of the air that will eventually arrive at a receptor. Based on the advantages of the method presented here, we suggest that it should replace many of the standard uses of backward LPDM simulations.

Citation: Owen, R. C. and Honrath, R. E.: Technical Note: A new method for the Lagrangian tracking of pollution plumes from source to receptor using gridded model output, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 8, 18843-18891, doi:10.5194/acpd-8-18843-2008, 2008.
 
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