Improving SCIPUFF dispersion forecasts with NWP ensembles

Jared A. Lee, L. Joel Peltier, Sue Ellen Haupt, John C. Wyngaard, David R. Stauffer, Aijun Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The relationships between atmospheric transport and dispersion (AT&D) plume uncertainty and uncertainties in the transporting wind fields are investigated using the Second-Order Closure, Integrated Puff (SCIPUFF) AT&D model driven by numerical weather prediction (NWP) meteorological fields. Modeled contaminant concentrations for episode 1 of the 1983 Cross-Appalachian Tracer Experiment (CAPTEX-83) are compared with recorded ground-level concentrations of the inert tracer gas C7F14. This study evaluates a Taylor-diffusion-based parameterization of dispersion uncertainty for SCIPUFF that uses Eulerian meteorological ensemble velocity statistics and a Lagrangian integral time scale as input. These values are diagnosed from NWP ensemble data. Individual simulations of the tracer release fail to reproduce some of the monitored surface concentrations of the tracer. The plumes that are predicted using the uncertainty model in SCIPUFF are broader, improving the overlap between the predicted and observed results. Augmenting the meteorological input to SCIPUFF with meteorological ensemble-uncertainty parameters therefore provides both a better estimate of the expected plume location and the relative uncertainties in the predicted concentrations than single deterministic forecasts. These results suggest that this new parameterization of NWP wind field uncertainty for dispersion may provide more sophisticated information that may benefit emergency response and decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2305-2319
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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