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498 AIR

METEOROLOGY AND

the superadiabatic conditions below the inversion act to move the plume into a vigorously looping pattern. Fumigating can cause high ground-level concentrations of air contaminants, though these usually last only a relatively short period of time. [8-9] Similar to the conditions which provoke the "fumigating" plume are the conditions which create a "trapping" effect. Here an inversion layer prevails both above and below the emission source. This results in the "coning" of the plume below the source and above the lower inversion, as seen in Fig. S - l g .

The differing conductive capacity of landmass and water mass gives rise to the alternating flow of sea breezes and land breezes, a pattern which can contribute to air pollution problems. The Los Angeles area frequently experiences this pattern of air movement, which carries the contaminants toward the ocean in the evening, only to return the polluted air to the urban basin when the direction of the wind shifts back toward land with the morning sun.

8-10 MOISTURE AND DISPERSION 8-8 PRESSURE SYSTEMS AND DISPERSION The influence of meteorological conditions on air quality is also noted in the effect of pressure systems on dispersion of pollutants. It was previously stated that high-pressure systems are related to clear skies, light winds, and atmospheric stability. When such a system becomes stagnant over an area for several days, air contaminants can build up to cause air pollution problems. Conversely, low-pressure systems are associated with unstable atmospheric conditions and commonly bring winds and rain; contaminant buildup is less likely to occur in low-pressure cells. [8-6] However, conflicting influences are operant when a warm front dominates a low-pressure cell. Initially, a warm front will reduce air-contaminant concentrations, primarily through the storm activity along its leading edge. As the warm front develops, however, more stable conditions will result, with an accompanying increase in air pollution potential. Moisture content and form in the atmosphere can have a profound effect upon the air quality of a region. The presence and amount of water vapor in the atmosphere affects the amount of solar radiation received and reflected by earth. Water vapor serves to scatter or absorb radiation energy, and hence humidity has a major influence on air quality. Precipitation serves as a cleansing agent for the atmosphere, removing particulates and soluble gases in a process called washout. Though the beneficial effects of washout are obvious, there are also some detrimental effects. When rainfall removes sulfur dioxide (S0 2) from the air, it may react with the water to form H2SOa (sulfurous acid) or H2S04 (sulfuric acid). The resultant "acid rain" increases the rate of corrosion where air contaminants are present. [8-17] In addition, the unnaturally low pH of such rains may change the pH of rivers and streams and thus influence the species of algae and other plant life which predominate in those bodies of water. [8-37]

8-9 WINDS AND DISPERSION Wind is one of the most important vehicles in the distribution, transport, and dispersion of air contaminants. As meteorologists make use of a wind rose to graphically portray wind speed and direction, so environmental engineers have devised a pollution rose for plotting the data necessary to determine the source direction of specific air contaminants. [8-38] The velocity of the wind determines the travel time of a particulate to a receptor and also the dispersion rate of air contaminants. Assuming a wind speed of 1 m/s and a source emitting 5 g of air contaminants per second, it can be determined that contaminant concentration in this plume "is" 5 g/rri3. If the wind velocity increases to 5 m/s, then the contaminant concentration from the same source is reduced to a single gram per cubic meter. Concentration of air contaminants in a plume is inversely proportional to wind velocity. Frequently, topographic conditions will have a profound effect on winds and U r n s on air quality. This is seen in the wind channeling effect of a valley. Here, because of a particular geographic structure, air movement is predominantly up or down the valley, and dispersion of ambient contaminants outside the valley ma y be limited. 8-11 MODELING A knowledge of meteorological phenomena and an understanding of the variable factors that build weather systems can be used as a basis for forecasting air pollution potential and for devising air-pollution prevention and abatement programs. With information from an emission inventory and with atmospheric dispersion rates, it is possible to estimate air contaminant levels with some degree of reliability.

Maximum Mixing Depth (MMD) Operations likely to produce significant amounts of air pollution should be limited to those areas in which atmospheric dispersion processes are most favorable. A determination of the maximum mixing depth of an ambient environment could help establish whether an area is a proper site for contaminant-causing human activities. Maximum mixing depth (MMD) can be estimated by plotting maximum surface temperature and drawing a line parallel to the dry adiabatic lapse rate from the point of maximum surface temperature to the point at which the line

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