QES-Plume v1.0: a Lagrangian dispersion model


Low-cost simulations providing accurate predictions of transport of airborne material in urban areas, vegetative canopies, and complex terrain are demanding because of the small-scale heterogeneity of the features influencing the mean flow and turbulence fields. Common models used to predict turbulent transport of passive scalars are based on the Lagrangian stochastic dispersion model. The Quick Environmental Simulation (QES) tool is a low computational-cost framework developed to provide high-resolution wind and concentration fields in a variety of complex atmospheric-boundary-layer environments. Part of the framework, QES-Plume, is a Lagrangian dispersion code that uses a time-implicit integration scheme to solve the generalized Langevin equations which require mean flow and turbulence fields. Here, QES-plume is driven by QES-Winds, a 3D fast-response model that computes mass-consistent wind fields around buildings, vegetation, and hills using empirical parameterizations, and QES-Turb, a local mixing-length turbulence model. In this paper, the particle dispersion model is presented and validated against analytical solutions to examine QES-Plume’s performance under idealized conditions. In particular, QES-Plume is evaluated against a classical Gaussian-plume model for an elevated continuous point-source release in uniform flow and a non-Gaussian-plume model for an elevated continuous point-source release in a power-law boundary-layer flow. In these cases, QES-plume yields a maximum relative error below 6 % with analytical solutions. In addition, the model is tested against wind-tunnel data for a uniform array of cubical buildings. QES-Plume exhibits good agreement with the experiment with 99 % of matched zeros and 59 % of the predicted concentrations falling within a factor of 2 of the experimental concentrations. Furthermore, results also emphasized the importance of using high-quality turbulence models for particle dispersion in complex environments. Finally, QES-Plume demonstrates excellent computational performance.

Geoscientific Model Development, 16, 5729–5754
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Dr. Jeremy A. Gibbs
Dr. Jeremy A. Gibbs
Research Meteorologist

My name is Jeremy Gibbs. I am a Research Meteorologist at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. My research includes computational and theoretical studies of atmospheric boundary-layer flows, turbulence modeling, land-surface modeling, parameterization of boundary-layer and surface-layer interactions, and multi-scale numerical weather prediction. I am currently working on projects to improve atmospheric models in the areas of scale-aware boundary-layer physics, heterogeneous boundary layers, and other storm-scale phenomena.