Articles | Volume 20, issue 5
Research article
14 Oct 2013
Research article |  | 14 Oct 2013

Dispersion of aerosol particles in the free atmosphere using ensemble forecasts

T. Haszpra, I. Lagzi, and T. Tél

Abstract. The dispersion of aerosol particle pollutants is studied using 50 members of an ensemble forecast in the example of a hypothetical free atmospheric emission above Fukushima over a period of 2.5 days. Considerable differences are found among the dispersion predictions of the different ensemble members, as well as between the ensemble mean and the deterministic result at the end of the observation period. The variance is found to decrease with the particle size. The geographical area where a threshold concentration is exceeded in at least one ensemble member expands to a 5–10 times larger region than the area from the deterministic forecast, both for air column "concentration" and in the "deposition" field. We demonstrate that the root-mean-square distance of any particle from its own clones in the ensemble members can reach values on the order of one thousand kilometers. Even the centers of mass of the particle cloud of the ensemble members deviate considerably from that obtained by the deterministic forecast. All these indicate that an investigation of the dispersion of aerosol particles in the spirit of ensemble forecast contains useful hints for the improvement of risk assessment.