Assimilating concentration observations for transport and dispersion modeling in a meandering wind field

Sue Ellen Haupt, Anke Beyer-Lout, Kerrie J. Long, George S. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Assimilating concentration data into an atmospheric transport and dispersion model can provide information to improve downwind concentration forecasts. The forecast model is typically a one-way coupled set of equations: the meteorological equations impact the concentration, but the concentration does not generally affect the meteorological field. Thus, indirect methods of using concentration data to influence the meteorological variables are required. The problem studied here involves a simple wind field forcing Gaussian dispersion. Two methods of assimilating concentration data to infer the wind direction are demonstrated. The first method is Lagrangian in nature and treats the puff as an entity using feature extraction coupled with nudging. The second method is an Eulerian field approach akin to traditional variational approaches, but minimizes the error by using a genetic algorithm (GA) to directly optimize the match between observations and predictions. Both methods show success at inferring the wind field. The GA-variational method, however, is more accurate but requires more computational time. Dynamic assimilation of a continuous release modeled by a Gaussian plume is also demonstrated using the genetic algorithm approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1329-1338
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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