Multiscale plume transport from the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001

Georgiy Stenchikov, Nilesh Lahoti, David J. Diner, Ralph Kahn, Paul J. Lioy, Panagiotis Georgopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The collapse of the world trade center (WTC) produced enhanced levels of airborne contaminants in New York City and nearby areas on September 11, 2001 through December, 2001. This catastrophic event revealed the vulnerability of the urban environment, and the inability of many existing air monitoring systems to operate efficiently in a crisis. The contaminants released circulated within the street canyons, but were also lifted above the urban canopy and transported over large distances, reflecting the fact that pollutant transport affects multiple scales, from single buildings through city blocks to mesoscales. In this study, ground-and space-based observations were combined with numerical weather forecast fields to initialize fine-scale numerical simulations. The effort is aimed at reconstructing pollutant dispersion from the WTC in New York City to surrounding areas, to provide means for eventually evaluating its effect on population and environment. Atmospheric dynamics were calculated with the multi-grid Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), covering scales from 250 m to 300 km and contaminant transport was studied using the Hybrid Particle and Concentration Transport (HYPACT) model that accepts RAMS meteorological output. The RAMS/HYPACT results were tested against PM2.5 observations from the roofs of public schools in New York City (NYC), Landsat images, and Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) retrievals. Calculations accurately reproduced locations and timing of PM2.5 peak aerosol concentrations, as well as plume directionality. By comparing calculated and observed concentrations, the effective magnitude of the aerosol source was estimated. The simulated pollutant distributions are being used to characterize levels of human exposure and associated environmental health impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-450
Number of pages26
JournalEnvironmental Fluid Mechanics
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006

Fingerprint

World Trade Center
atmospheric modeling
plume
Impurities
Aerosols
pollutant transport
aerosol
MISR
Hybrid systems
street canyon
Roofs
catastrophic event
atmospheric dynamics
pollutant
health impact
Health
monitoring system
Landsat
roof
Imaging techniques

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology

Keywords

  • 9/11
  • Aerosol plume
  • Hybrid Particle and Concentration Transport Model
  • Multi-angle Imaging Spectro Radiometer
  • Particulate matter
  • Regional Atmospheric Modeling System
  • Terrorist attack
  • Transport
  • Urban pollution
  • World Trade Center

Cite this

Stenchikov, Georgiy ; Lahoti, Nilesh ; Diner, David J. ; Kahn, Ralph ; Lioy, Paul J. ; Georgopoulos, Panagiotis. / Multiscale plume transport from the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In: Environmental Fluid Mechanics. 2006 ; Vol. 6, No. 5. pp. 425-450.
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Multiscale plume transport from the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. / Stenchikov, Georgiy; Lahoti, Nilesh; Diner, David J.; Kahn, Ralph; Lioy, Paul J.; Georgopoulos, Panagiotis.

In: Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 6, No. 5, 01.10.2006, p. 425-450.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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