Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research Tower Could Aid Tracking Of Contaminant Plumes

Date:
June 26, 2007
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
The nation's first network of research instruments meant for developing precise predictions of urban movements of toxic or radioactive contaminants has neared completion in Washington, D.C., with researchers recently erecting a 30-feet-tall meteorological station on a building in downtown Washington, D.C.

NOAA station being set up.
Credit: Jonathan Lifland, American Geophysical Union

Using data from the new network, which so far has 11 stations in the District, scientists expect to create and test computer models that would calculate neighborhood-scale projections of a plume's spread.

Related Articles


ently erecting a 30-feet-tall meteorological station on a building in downtown Washington, D.C.

Using data from the new network, which so far has 11 stations in the District, scientists expect to create and test computer models that would calculate neighborhood-scale projections of a plume's spread.

The analysis might also specify locations of contamination “hot spots,” says atmospheric physicist Christoph A. Vogel of the Air Resources Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Silver Spring, Md. That would enable first responders and citizens to know “which streets you would want to go down and which to avoid,” he adds.

The NOAA-funded network, known as UrbaNet, also supports activities of the Department of Homeland Security.

On Wednesday, June 20, Vogel and engineer Randy White mounted their instruments on the roof of the headquarters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2000 Florida Ave., N.W., near the intersection of Florida and Connecticut Avenues N.W., not far from Dupont Circle.

AGU is an international organization of scientists who study and publish research on Earth and space sciences.

The new monitoring station will include a device called a sonic anemometer that uses high-frequency sound waves to measure wind velocity in all directions simultaneously at brief time intervals. With such data, scientists can analyze local air turbulence that strongly influences where and at what rate airborne contaminants spread in an urban environment, Vogel explains.

Although weather and climate researchers already employ well-developed models to forecast air movements on regional scales, “trying to work in a city, neighborhood by neighborhood, is still in its infancy,” Vogel notes. “Existing, large-area models scale with considerable difficulty to the size of neighborhoods,” he says, “At the same time, atmospheric-turbulence models for small domains can't easily address the bigger scale and complexities of urban terrain.”

Aside from the capital's suitability for the monitoring network for security reasons, the city is also an exceptional proving ground on another count: Its fairly uniform skyline—the result of building-height restrictions—results in air motion that is easier to model than it would be in cities, such as New York City, with more extreme height variations, Vogel says. However, the research team has also erected a handful of stations in New York City and elsewhere to pursue testing in other environments.

The roof that will receive the new instrument tower hosts another weather-monitoring station operated by a commercial weather service, called WeatherBug. By locating the new NOAA installation alongside the commercial instruments, the research team intends to evaluate the feasibility of tapping private meteorological networks to contribute to its urban atmospheric measurements.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Research Tower Could Aid Tracking Of Contaminant Plumes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070625223615.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (2007, June 26). Research Tower Could Aid Tracking Of Contaminant Plumes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070625223615.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Research Tower Could Aid Tracking Of Contaminant Plumes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070625223615.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins