Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 209–223

Conditional concentration statistics for surface plumes in the atmospheric boundary layer

  • B. L. Sawford

DOI: 10.1007/BF00122445

Cite this article as:
Sawford, B.L. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (1987) 38: 209. doi:10.1007/BF00122445


A set of concentration time series from ground-level plumes in the atmosphere has been used to generate conditionally sampled (zeros ignored) plume concentration statistics. These have been compared and contrasted with corresponding unconditionally sampled statistics. It is found that conditional statistics are much less sensitive to the location of the receptor (relative to the mean plume) and to averaging time. Indeed, most of the variation apparent in unconditionally sampled statistics (both explained and unexplained) resides in the intermittency, the fraction of non-zero readings.

The data are used to test three commonly used models for the concentration frequency distribution. At the simplest level of modelling, it is assumed that conditional statistics are invariant; then the data are best represented by a clipped-normal distribution. However, an exponential distribution is only slightly conservative and has the advantage of simplicity. A log-normal distribution is clearly not supported by the data. With this simple approach the intermittency remains unspecified and this is a serious deficiency.

More advanced modelling must account for the residual variation in conditional statistics, which implies a relationship between these statistics and the intermittency. Although there is evidence for such a relationship in the data, it is not adequately represented by any of the distribution models considered.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. L. Sawford
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Atmospheric ResearchPO MordiallocAustralia

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