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UDINEE: Evaluation of Multiple Models with Data from the JU2003 Puff Releases in Oklahoma City. Part I: Comparison of Observed and Predicted Concentrations

Hernández-Ceballos, Miguel A., Hanna, Steven, Bianconi, Roberto, Bellasio, Roberto, Mazzola, Thomas, Chang, Joseph, Andronopoulos, Spyros, Armand, Patrick, Benbouta, Najat, Čarný, Peter, Ek, Nils, Fojcíková, Eva, Fry, Richard, Huggett, Lois, Kopka, Piotr, Korycki, Michal, Lipták, Ľudovít, Millington, Sarah, Miner, Sean, Oldrini, Olivier, Potempski, Slawomir, Tinarelli, Gianni L., Castelli, Silvia Trini, Venetsanos, Alexander, Galmarini, Stefano
Boundary-layer meteorology 2019 v.171 no.3 pp. 323-349
field experimentation, governance, models, prediction, risk assessment, sulfur hexafluoride, urban areas, Oklahoma
In a complex environment such as an urban area, accurate prediction of the atmospheric dispersion of airborne harmful materials such as radioactive substances is necessary for establishing response actions and assessing risk or damage. Given the variety of urban atmospheric dispersion models available, evaluation and inter-comparison exercises are vital for assessing quantitatively and qualitatively their capabilities and differences. To that end, the European Commission/Directorate General Joint Research Centre with support from the European Commission/Directorate General-Migration and Home Affairs, and with the contribution of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, launched the Urban Dispersion INternational Evaluation Exercise (UDINEE) project. Within UDINEE, nine atmospheric dispersion models are evaluated and intercompared. Sulphur hexafluoride concentrations from puffs released near the ground during the Joint Urban 2003 (JU2003) field experiment are used in UDINEE to evaluate atmospheric dispersion models. The JU2003 experiment is chosen because UDINEE aims at the better understanding of modelling capabilities for radiological dispersal devices in urban areas, and the neutrally-buoyant puff releases performed in the JU2003 experiment are the closest scenario to this purpose. The present study evaluates the capability of models at simulating the presence and concentration levels of the tracer at sampling locations. The fraction of predicted concentrations and time-integrated concentrations within a factor-of-two of observations are less than 0.36 and 0.4 respectively. The analysis reveals an improvement in the performance of models by using time-varying inflow conditions. Since the simulation of the dispersion of puff release is particularly challenging, the results of UDINEE could constitute a benchmark for future model developments.