, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 431-456,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 04 Jun 2010

Analysis of Urban Atmosphere Plume Concentration Fluctuations


Concentration variability in the fast-response tracer dataset for continuous, near-surface, point source releases in the urban core from the Joint Urban 2003 field study is analyzed. Concentration variability for conditionally and unconditionally sampled time series is characterized by probability densities, concentration fluctuation intensity, skewness, and kurtosis. Significant day-night differences in plume dispersion are observed. Relative to daytime, nighttime plumes were more likely to have reduced concentration fluctuation intensities, higher normalized surface concentrations, suppressed vertical mixing, and a greater prevalence of Gaussian-like distributions rather than log-normal or mixed mode distributions. This was in spite of the similar stability and turbulence conditions in the urban core for day and night. The potential roles of flow meander and thermal stability in explaining these differences are examined. Probability densities of concentration are found to be a strong function of fluctuation intensity. There are few differences in probability densities between day and night when classified by fluctuation intensity. There are no appreciable differences between conditional and unconditional probability densities and only small differences between conditional and unconditional sampling statistics relative to the larger differences usually observed in more homogeneous settings. Fluctuation intensity, skewness, and kurtosis are higher for the daytime experiments, and closer to the source, but show little difference between conditional and unconditional results over most of their range of values. The log-normal distribution provides a better overall fit to a broader range of the dataset than the exponential or clipped-normal distributions.