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Journal Articles Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres Year : 2015

Reconstruction of an atmospheric tracer source in an urban-like environment


This study describes a methodology combining a recently proposed renormalization inversion technique with a building-resolving computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach for source retrieval in the geometrically complex urban regions. It presents the first application of the renormalization inversion approach to estimate an unknown continuous point release in real situations at an urban scale. The renormalization inversion approach is based on an adjoint source-receptor relationship and is purely deterministic in nature. The source parameters (i.e., source location and release rate) are reconstructed from a finite set of point measurements of concentration acquired from some sensors and the adjoint functions computed from a CFD model fluidyn-PANACHE that is able to represent the geometric and flow complexity inherent in the urban regions. The inversion procedure is evaluated for a point source reconstruction using measurements from the Mock Urban Setting Test (MUST) field experiment. Source reconstructions are performed for 20 trials of the MUST experiment of a continuous point release in an idealized urban geometry consisting of a regular array of shipping containers. The steady state flow fields are computed by solving the three-dimensional Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations by using a finite volume scheme. Then, in each MUST trial adjoint functions are obtained and used for the source identification. Inversion results are presented with both synthetic and real measurements in various atmospheric stabilities varying from neutral to stable and very stable conditions. With real concentration measurements, the point source is retrieved within an average Euclidean distance of 14.6 m from the actual source location. The estimated source intensity is overpredicted by an average factor of 1.37 of the true release rate. In a posterior uncertainty analysis with 10% random noise in measurements, it is demonstrated that standard deviation in the location error and release strength, respectively, varies by 5.22 m and ∼21% from their mean value for all 20 trials. A sensitivity analysis shows that the use of nonzero measurements helps in reducing the uncertainties involved in the source reconstruction. The source reconstruction results in various stability conditions exhibit the reliability of the renormalization inversion methodology coupled with the CFD approach in an urban area. The present methodology can be used by emergency regulators as a tool to detect the unknown accidental or deliberated releases in the complex urban environments.

Dates and versions

hal-02363250 , version 1 (14-11-2019)



Pramod Kumar, Amir-Ali Feiz, Sarvesh Kumar Singh, Pierre Ngae, Grégory Turbelin. Reconstruction of an atmospheric tracer source in an urban-like environment. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2015, 120 (24), pp.12589-12604. ⟨10.1002/2015JD024110⟩. ⟨hal-02363250⟩
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