Experimental and Model Transport and Diffusion Studies in Complex Terrain with Emphasis on Tracer Studies

  • Marvin H. Dickerson
  • Kevin T. Foster
  • Paul H. Gudiksen


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Studies in Complex Terrain (ASCOT) program began in the fall of 1978 as a multiple DOE and other Federal Laboratory program devoted to developing a better physical understanding of atmospheric boundary layer flows in areas of complex terrain. The first technical challenge undertaken by the program was an investigation of atmospheric boundary layer phenomena associated with the development, continuation and breakup of nocturnal drainage wind flows. This paper discusses the general objectives the program has addressed during the past several years and focuses on results from a major field experiment conducted in 1980 in The Geysers area of northern California. Specifically, results from measurements of simultaneous tracer releases are compared to calculations from a mass-consistent wind field model coupled to a particle-in-cell transport and diffusion model. Results of these comparisons show that model calculations agree with measurements within a factor of 5 approximately 50 percent of the time. Part of the difficulty faced by the models in these comparison studies is associated with large variabilities between measurements made by samplers located one or two Δx apart when compared to the resolution of the models. Space and time averaging improves the comparisons considerably, although the design of the field experiment did not allow the determination of optimum spacial and temporal averages.


Complex Terrain Stable Boundary Layer Diffusion Study Drainage Flow Drainage Layer 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marvin H. Dickerson
    • 1
  • Kevin T. Foster
    • 1
  • Paul H. Gudiksen
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaLivermoreUSA

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