A field-coherence technique for meteorological field-program design for air quality studies. Part I: Description and interpretation

David R. Stauffer, Nelson L. Seaman, Glenn K. Hunter, S. Mark Leidner, Annette Lario-Gibbs, Saffet Tanrikulu

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This paper describes a new methodology developed to provide objective guidance for cost-effective siting of meteorological observations on the mesoscale for air quality applications. This field-coherence technique (FCT) is based on a statistical analysis of the mesoscale atmospheric structure defined by the spatial and temporal "coherence" in the meteorological fields. The coherence, as defined here, is a measure of the distance scale over which there is temporal consistency in the spatial structure within a variable field. It indicates how well a measurement taken at one location can be used to estimate the value of that field at another location at a given analysis time. The FCT postulates that, the larger the field coherence is, the fewer measurement sites are needed to resolve adequately the dominant characteristics of that field. Proof of concept was demonstrated using real data from an extensive field-program database over the San Joaquin Valley in the summer of 1990. The FCT next was applied to numerical model results for the same period, which produced similar guidance. The transferability of the methodology from real data to numerical model results having been demonstrated, the FCT then was applied in a model-based study over California's South Coast Air Basin to contribute in the design of a new field program, the Southern California Ozone Study (SCOS97). Interpretation of the FCT results mostly corroborated a preliminary field-program design produced by the design team and based on past experience, subjective evaluation of historical datasets, and other considerations. However, the FCT results also led the design team to make several changes, which were confirmed by experts familiar with the meteorological behavior of the region and were included in the final SCOS97 field-program plan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-316
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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