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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 23 May 2018

Research article | 23 May 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

The Impact of MISR-derived Injection Height Initialization on Wildfire and Volcanic Plume Dispersion in the HYSPLIT Model

Charles J. Vernon1, Ryan Bolt1, Timothy Canty1, and Ralph A. Kahn2,1 Charles J. Vernon et al.
  • 1Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Abstract. The dispersion of particles from wildfires, volcanic eruptions, dust storms, and other aerosol sources can affect air quality and other environmental factors downwind. Aerosol injection height is one source attribute that mediates downwind dispersion, as wind speed and direction can vary dramatically with elevation. Using plume heights derived from space-based, multi-angle imaging, we examine the impact of initializing plumes with satellite-measured vs. nominal (model-calculated or VAAC observations) injection height on the simulated dispersion of six large aerosol plumes. When there are significant differences in nominal vs. satellite-derived particle injection heights, or if one injection height is within the planetary boundary layer (PBL) and the other is above the PBL, differences in simulation results can arise. In the cases studied with significant nominal vs. satellite-derived injection height differences, the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory's Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model tends to represent plume evolution better if the injection height in the model is constrained by hyper-stereo satellite retrievals.

Charles J. Vernon et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Charles J. Vernon et al.
Charles J. Vernon et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The height that aerosols are injected into the atmosphere can significantly impact the dispersion of aerosol plumes. We use direct observations from the MISR instrument to determine aerosol injection height and constrain the HYSPLIT Dispersion model with these data. We have shown that the nominal plume-rise calculation within HYSPLIT tends to underestimate injection heights of wildfires and that simulations constrained with MISR injection heights are in better agreement with MODIS observations.
The height that aerosols are injected into the atmosphere can significantly impact the...