Modeling the Fallout from Stabilized Nuclear Clouds using the HYSPLIT Atmospheric Dispersion Model


G.D. Rolph, F. Ngan, R.R. Draxler


Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 2014, doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.05.006


Abstract - The Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model, developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Air Resources Laboratory, has been configured to simulate the dispersion and deposition of nuclear materials from a surface-based nuclear detonation using publicly available information on nuclear explosions. Much of the information was obtained from “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons” by Glasstone and Dolan (1977). The model was evaluated against the measurements of nuclear fallout from six nuclear tests conducted between 1951 and 1957 at the Nevada Test Site using the global NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis Project (NNRP) and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) meteorological data as input. The model was able to reproduce the general direction and deposition patterns using the coarse NNRP data with Figure of Merit in Space (FMS e the percent overlap between predicted and measured deposition patterns) scores in excess of 50% for four of six simulations for the smallest dose rate contour, with FMS scores declining for higher dose rate contours. When WRF meteorological data were used the FMS scores were 5e20% higher in five of the six simulations, especially at the higher dose rate contours. The one WRF simulation where the scores declined slightly (10e30%) was also the best scoring simulation when using the NNRP data. When compared with measurements of dose rate and time of arrival from the Town Data Base (Thompson et al., 1994), similar results were found with the WRF simulations providing better results for four of six simulations. The overall result was that the different plume simulations using WRF data had more consistent performance than the plume simulations using NNRP data fields.



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