An inversion algorithm for determining area-source emissions from downwind concentration measurements

Measuring emissions from nonuniform area sources, such as waste repository sites, has been a difficult problem. A simple but reliable method is not available. An objective method of inverting downwind concentration measurements, utilizing an assumed form of atmospheric dispersion to reconstruct total emission rate and distribution, is described in this study. The Gaussian dispersion model is compared to a more realistic model based on K-theory and similarity expressions. A sensitivity analysis is presented indicating the atmospheric conditions under which a successful application of the method could be anticipated. Field releases of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) from a simulated area source in flat terrain were conducted to check the method, ability to reconstruct source distribution, and total emission rate. The sensitivity analysis and the field study confirm that a few ground-level concentration measurements and a simple determination of the atmospheric dispersion characteristics are sufficient, under neutral to stable conditions, to obtain the total emission rate accurately. Reconstruction of the spatial pattern of the source is possible by utilizing concentration information from samplers located on two separate ground-level receptor lines, if a shift in the wind direction occurs and if it can be assumed that the total emission rate is time invariant. A method of cross-checking the accuracy of the reconstruction, using a simultaneous tracer release, is presented.

Published in:
Air & waste : journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 44, 10, 1204-13

 Record created 2011-11-14, last modified 2018-03-17

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