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Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401

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Journal of Environmental Management

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The use of an atmospheric dispersion model to determine inuence regions in the

Prince George, B.C. airshed from the burning of open wood waste piles
B. Ainslie*, P.L. Jackson
Environmental Science & Engineering Programs, The University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, B.C., Canada V2N 4Z9

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: A means of determining air emission source regions adversely inuencing the city of Prince George,
Received 27 September 2008 British Columbia, Canada from potential burning of isolated piles of mountain pine beetle-killed lodge
Received in revised form pole pine is presented. The analysis uses the CALPUFF atmospheric dispersion model to identify safe
5 November 2008
burning regions based on atmospheric stability and wind direction. Model results show that the location
Accepted 22 November 2008
and extent of inuence regions is sensitive to wind speed, wind direction, atmospheric stability and
Available online 19 March 2009
a threshold used to quantify excessive concentrations. A concentration threshold based on the Canada
Wide PM2.5 Standard is used to delineate the inuence regions while Environment Canadas (EC) daily
Airshed ventilation index (VI) is used to quantify local atmospheric stability. Results from the analysis, to be used
CALPUFF by air quality meteorologists in assessing daily requests for burning permits, are presented as a series of
Inuence region maps delineating acceptable burning locations for sources placed at various distances from the city
Dispersion modeling center and under different ventilation conditions. The results show that no burning should be allowed
within 10 km of the city center; under poor ventilation conditions, no burning should be allowed within
20 km of the city center; under good ventilation conditions, burning can be allowed within 1015 km of
the city center; under good to fair ventilation conditions, burning can be allowed beyond 15 km of the
city center; and if the wind direction can be reliably forecast, burning can be allowed between 5 and
10 km downwind of the city center under good ventilation conditions.
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction to areas where emissions will not negatively impact the heavily
populated areas.
In recent years infestation by the mountain pine beetle (Den- Thus, what is needed, is a way to delineate the local airshed in
droctonus ponderosae) (MPB) has killed millions of acres of mature terms of air masses which do not inuence air quality in the city of
stands of lodgepole pine in the central interior of British Columbia, Prince George. It must be kept in mind that an airshed is not a xed
Canada. While some of the resulting infected timber is commer- geographical entity like a watershed, and to the extent that an
cially salvageable, a large amount of the MBP-affected timber is not airshed can be dened, it must, at a minimum be dependent on: the
and poses a forest re risk. In and around the city of Prince George, pollutant of interest; meteorological conditions; emission source
British Columbia, Canada, this beetle-killed timber has become locations; and emission rates. It also depends on a dening,
increasingly difcult for public agencies and private individuals to threshold attribute like concentration level (Copeland et al., 2004),
manage. As a result, it is proposed that some of this debris be cut deposition load (Dennis and Mathur, 2001) or an inter-station
and burned in small (100 m2) isolated piles. Of concern is correlation level between regional monitoring stations (Civerolo
the potential impacts such burning would have on air quality in the et al., 2003). Furthermore, two different reference frames can be
populated part of the city, which already records some of the used to identify an airshed: a source-oriented frame and a receptor-
highest PM2.5 levels in the province (B.C. Ministry of Water, Land oriented frame. In the rst reference frame, an airshed boundary is
and Air Protection, 2003). Consequently, burning must be restricted dened as those areas affected by emissions from sources within
the airshed whereas in the second approach, outside sources are
used to dene those regions which inuence a receptor site.
Different analytical techniques have been used to delineate
* Corresponding author. Environmental Science & Engineering Programs, The
airsheds using a variety of denitions and both reference frames.
University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C., Canada V2N 4Z9. Tel.:
1 604 822 5800. Civerolo et al. (2003) identify an ozone airshed around Pittsburgh
E-mail address: ainslie@unbc.ca (B. Ainslie). Pa., by examining monitoring stations whose ozone timeseries

0301-4797/$ see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2394 B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401

show high correlations with Pittsburghs. Such an analysis requires The ClearSky system is an event-specic means of identifying
a sufcient density of monitoring stations extending within and regions potentially inuenced by residue burning. In the present
outside of the airshed. This analysis also requires meteorological work, we develop a similar, but simpler, method to identify average
and air quality observations over a sufciently long period of time wood waste (slash) burning inuence regions based on a range of
in order to capture natural meteorological variability and changing meteorological conditions, burn locations and dispersion charac-
emission rates. For the Prince George airshed, the monitoring teristics. Specically, we use the CALMET atmospheric dispersion
network is spatially too sparse, especially away from the developed model to calculate the impact on local PM2.5 concentrations from
areas, for this approach to be practical. burning slash piles placed around the city at various radial
Brankov et al. (1998) use a clustering analysis of 3-day back- distances and azimuthal angles. We then group together results
trajectories, calculated from coarse (180 km) gridded model output, from days with common wind directions and atmospheric stability.
to infer regions which inuence ozone concentrations at different Superposition of ground-level concentration footprints from sour-
monitoring sites in the Northeast U.S. Forward trajectories were ces at different azimuthal positions allows us to identify regions
used in the Civerolo et al. (2003) airshed analysis to identify regions where burning will negatively impact air quality as a function of
impacted by emissions from large urban centers. Starting from both wind direction and atmospheric stability. In order to capture
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, daily 1-day forward trajectories over 5 interannual meteorological variability, a three year period is
summertime periods were used to identify regions impacted by 1- analyzed. Finally, the methods and analyses are developed so that
day transport from the two cities. While both these trajectory they can be easily used in the day-to-day permitting of open wood
analyses are well suited to the identication of regional scale air- waste burning by air quality meteorologists.
sheds, at the local scale such a method requires high-resolution
gridded wind elds which are expensive to produce over extended 2. Study domain and meteorological data
time periods.
Probably the most comprehensive way of quantitatively 2.1. Study domain
analyzing an airshed boundary involves the use of high-resolution
numerical weather prediction model coupled with either a disper- Prince George, a city of 77,000 inhabitants, is located at the
sion model or a 3-D chemical transport mechanism. Dennis and conuence of the Fraser and Nechako rivers in central British
Mathur (2001) use a modied version of the Regional Acid Depo- Columbia, Canada at 53.9 N and 122.68 W. The downtown area
sition Model (Stockwell et al., 1990) to dene the airshed associated and much of the city proper is situated in a depression along the
with nitrogen deposition in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They Nechako and Fraser riverbanks about 150 m below the surrounding
model deposition rates from sources around the Chesapeake Bay Nechako Plateau. It is an industrial city having three pulp mills, an
watershed to calculate deposition rates for each source. They then oil renery, several sawmills and a major railway junction with
normalize the modeled deposition rates from each source using associated rail yards within its immediate area.
that sources domain deposition total. Contours of equal normal- During anticyclonic (fair-weather) conditions, light winds
ized deposition rates from all of the sources are then used to coupled with the surrounding escarpment impede the horizontal
identify what they call the principle airshed. Because this method dispersion of pollutants while nocturnal katabatic drainage ows
is computationally intensive, only 30 5-day simulations, identied and radiative cooling lead to a strong thermal inversion limiting
using a clustering analysis of typical wind ow patterns, were vertical mixing. These meteorological conditions can occur anytime
modeled. Civerolo et al. (2003) used the RAMS meso-scale model of the year but are most common in the fall and winter. As a result
(Pielke et al., 1992) along with the Urban Airshed chemical trans- of these geographical and meteorological features, along with its
port model to identify airshed boundaries surrounding the cities of industrial activities, the city experiences periods of elevated PM2.5
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The analysis uses the differences in levels which often exceed the Canada Wide Standard 24-hour
modeled predicted concentrations between a base case run and standard of 30 mg/m3 (98th percentile averaged over 3-years) (B.C.
runs with the urban anthropogenic emissions turned off, to identify Ministry of Environment, 2006). In response to these elevated PM2.5
those surrounding regions whose ozone concentrations are directly levels, a number of local initiatives have been undertaken,
affected by the urban emissions. Again, because of the signicant including the delineation of a region within the downtown area
computational effort involved, the modeling covered only the 1995 where a Clean Air Bylaw restricts many polluting activities.
summer season. For the dispersion modeling, a 40  40 km study region
At the local scale, Copeland et al. (2004) use a four dimensional centered over the city of Prince George area was used (Fig. 1). In the
data assimilation system and the MM5 meso-scale model (Dudhia, eastwest direction, this domain spanned UTM coordinates
1993) to develop high-resolution (500 m) wind elds used to drive 500,000 to 540,000 (m) E and in the northsouth direction
a transport and diffusion model. Results are used to calculate areas 5,955,000 to 5,995,000 (m) N. The domain was discretized into
around building from where atmospheric releases have the 1 1 km grid cells.
potential to inuence building concentrations (so called threat
zones). The use of high-resolution meso-scale modeling is not 2.2. Meteorological data
feasible for the current application.
A smoke dispersion forecast system (ClearSky) has been devel- Meteorological input data from six surface stations and one
oped for management of agricultural eld burning in the Pacic upper air station was used to drive the dispersion simulations (see
Northwest (Jain et al., 2007). Daily MM5 meso-scale model output Table 1 and Fig. 1). All stations were located within the city and
at 4 km is used as input to the CALMET diagnostic wind eld were operated by a variety of agencies (see Table 1). For each
generator (Scire et al., 2000). Event-specic emission elds are station, hourly temperature, wind speed and direction measure-
generated through consultation with a database of local eld and ments were recorded. In addition, at the UNBC site, hourly relative
crop conditions. The emission elds are then used with the CALMET humidity and station pressure were measured while at the airport
wind elds to drive the CALPUFF (Scire et al., 1999) dispersion site, hourly relative humidity, station pressure, cloud cover, opacity
model. Regions likely to be inuenced by residue burning are and precipitation rates were measured. Since wet deposition was
identied through modeled hourly PM2.5 elds which are displayed not considered in the modeling, precipitation data was not relevant
through a web-based animation system. to the analysis.
B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401 2395



5980 2
UTM N (km)

UTM N (km)
5975 3
1 5975
6 4



495 500 505 510 515 520 525 530
495 500 505 510 515 520 525 530
UTM E (km)
UTM E (km)
Fig. 1. Map of the modeling domain showing the major highways, rivers and lakes, the
Prince George city limits and current existing Clean Air Bylaw boundary (hatched Fig. 2. Locations of the 24 sources (), at the 3 radii and 8 azimuthal angles used in
region). Numbers identify the locations of the six surface meteorological stations and dispersion modeling. Also shown is the existing Clean Air Bylaw Boundary (hatched),
one upper air station (described in Table 1) used in the analysis. the city limits and topography at 50 m intervals.

3.1. Emission scenarios

The upper-air data from the Environment Canada aerological
station was obtained twice daily with pressure, height, wind The inuence of slash pile burning on the citys air quality was
speed and direction, temperature, and dew point temperature modeled through a matrix of 24 scenarios. Each scenario modeled
recorded every 4050 m above ground level. For the CALPUFF the dispersion of PM2.5 from a ground-level source located at one of
simulations, the upper-air data for each ight was interpolated to 3 radial distances from the city center (5, 10 and 15 km) and along
the 10 model levels. For the few partial or missing soundings, one of 8 azimuthal angles (0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270 and 315 ).
missing data was lled in by interpolation from the adjacent These source locations are marked on Fig. 2. For each scenario,
ights. Only in a few cases were multi-ight interpolations ambient PM2.5 concentrations resulting from the slash burning are
required. simulated for each day in the 3-year period. Following the local
burning practices, which allow burning only during daylight hours,
3. Methods we model the dispersion of emissions over a 12-hour period
starting at 0600 and ending at 1800 LST. No burning is assumed to
To delineate the airshed boundaries with respect to PM2.5 occur over the following 12 h, although atmospheric concentra-
concentrations associated with MPB slash burning, the Lagrangian tions may still be elevated due to the slow natural removal of the
CALPUFF (Scire et al., 1999) dispersion model was run over the previously emitted pollution.
20022004 period. This model was chosen because it is recom- Source emissions rates were held constant during the 12-hour
mended by the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment for burn period. Dispersion and resulting air quality were continued to
local scale dispersion modeling in regions of complex terrain (B.C. be modeled for the additional 12-hour overnight period. Model
Ministry of Environment, 2008). Meteorological elds used for the output over the 24-hour burn/no burn period was then averaged to
dispersion calculations were developed separately by the CALMET produce a single daily average concentration eld. As a result,
meteorological pre-processor. To be consistent with ambient PM2.5 a possible 26,280 (3 years  365 days  24 scenarios) burning
objectives, we used CALPUFF to calculate average 24-hour events were modeled.
concentrations arising from the open slash burning under a range For each burn, source emission rates were xed at 150 gs1
of meteorological conditions. based on an estimated pile volume of 1000 m3 (10  10  10 m),

Table 1
Meteorological stations used in the dispersion modeling.

Station name Location Station type Operating agency UTMX (km) UMTY (km)
1 PLAZ Plaza 400 Surface B.C. Ministry of the Environment 517.005 5973.910
2 NORT Northwood Pulp Surface B.C. Ministry of the Environment 520.336 5979.981
3 PULP PG Pulp Surface B.C. Ministry of the Environment 520.612 5975.161
4 AIRP Airport Surface Transport Canada 521.359 5971.517
5 GLEN Glenview Surface B.C. Ministry of the Environment 514.714 5983.050
6 UNBC Unbc Surface The University of Northern B.C. 512.193 5971.669
7 ZXS Massey & Ospika Upper Air Meteorological Services Canada 514.455 5972.418
2396 B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401

a stacking density of 0.5 (D. Fudge, personal communication) and Table 2

an emission factor of 12 g PM2.5/kg wood burned. The 12 g PM2.5/kg Micro-meteorological parameter ranges used in the CALMET simulations.

emission factor is taken from the US EPA AP-42 emission factors Variable Description Range
(Environmental Protection Agency, 1995) and represents emissions zo Surface Roughness (m) 0.0011.0
from Pacic Northwest mixed conifer logging slash. The slash B Bowen Ratio 0.01.5
burning emission rates can be compared with an estimated average a Albedo 0.10.3
hcf Soil heat ux (W/m2) 0.150.25
PM2.5 release rate of 17.0 gs1 from the Northwood Pulp and Paper
LAI Leaf Area Index 3.07.0
mill located within the Prince George area (based on an estimated ahf Anthropogenic Heat ux (W/m2) 0.0
total release rate of 536 tonnes/year 1).
It must be stressed that we are not modeling a large buoyancy
area or line source (e.g. a forest re) where additional burn rate
months occur, which would affect the surface sensible heat ux and
requirements like ignition patterns, fuel availability and moisture
ultimately the mixed layer depths.
content are needed but instead a small (100 m2) pile of relatively
We used the Batchvarova and Gryning convective MLD option
uniform timber. As a result, each burn was treated as an isolated
(Gryning and Batchvarova, 1996) which has been shown to realis-
buoyant point source with a nominal plume temperature of 398 K
tically simulate MLD in regions of complex topography (Batchvar-
and up-draft velocity of 1.0 ms1. These parameter values, while
ova et al., 1999) and to be a slight improvement over CALMETs
consistent with temperature and up-draft velocities reported from
standard MaulCarson mixing scheme in a coastal application
agricultural burning (Jain et al., 2007) are estimated values, and as
(Scire et al., 2005).
such, contribute additional uncertainties to the calculated surface
CALMET develops 3-D wind elds by initially calculating a rst
guess eld which takes into account the kinematic inuence of
Since the interest was in the determination of the potential
terrain on the wind. The radius of inuence of terrain features on
incremental impacts of MPB killed timber on the citys air quality,
the wind elds was set to 5.0 km. Next, an inverse-distance
each simulated day began with a clean background and only
weighting method was used to incorporate the observations from
a single source was simulated at a time. No deposition or chemical
the six surface stations into the rst guess wind eld. The distance
transformations were included in the modeling.
at which observations and the rst guess eld are given equal
weight in the interpolation was set to 1.0 km at the surface and
2.0 km aloft. The maximum radius of inuence of a station was set
3.2. CALMET meteorological pre-processor to 20 km. In addition, at a minimum distance of 4 km away from the
upper air station, similarity theory was used to extrapolate surface
To assess the airshed boundaries with respect to MPB associated wind observations to the upper layers. These settings were then
slash burning, the diagnostic meteorological model CALMET used with the meteorological observations to create gridded hourly
(Version 6.211) was run to produce three-dimensional meteoro- wind elds over the study domain for the years 20022004.
logical elds for use by the CALPUFF dispersion model. CALMET was
run over the 3 year study period to produce hourly wind and
3.3. CALPUFF dispersion modeling
temperature elds at the 1000 m grid resolution with 10 vertical
levels having boundaries at the following heights (in m AGL): 0, 20,
CALPUFF is a non-steady state puff Lagrangian Gaussian
50, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1400, 2000 and 3000.
dispersion model that simulates the effects of the time- and space-
Gridded elevation and landuse values over the meteorological
varying meteorological conditions on pollutant transport, disper-
domain were required by CALMET. Elevation data was extracted
sion, transformation and removal (Scire et al., 1999). It is designed
from the USGS SRTM3 (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission 3) data2
to use the three-dimensional meteorological elds produced by
while landuse characteristics were extracted from the BC GOAT3
CALMET to transport and disperse puffs of emissions from
system. Fourteen CALMET landuse classes were used to charac-
modeled sources. CALPUFF uses similarity theory to estimate
terize the geophysical properties of the modeling domain.
horizontal and vertical plume turbulent dispersion coefcients and
An important component of the dispersion calculations is the
has algorithms to account for additional dispersive effects
specication of micro-meteorological surface characteristics.
including: building downwash, transitional plume rise, vertical
Because model calculated mixed layer depths (MLD), a central
wind shear, partial plume penetration, sub-grid scale terrain
parameter in the dispersion calculations, are sensitive to the land-
interactions, pollutant removal (wet scavenging and dry deposi-
surface characterization (Long et al., 2004), values for the surface
tion) and chemical transformation.
roughness, Bowen ratio (the ratio of sensible to latent heat ux
For each of the simulated burn events, the CALPUFF model was
which depends on soil moisture), surface albedo, ground and
run using the hourly CALMET wind elds appropriate for the
anthropogenic heat ux constants, and leaf area index where
simulation day and with the slash pile source at one of the radial
chosen so that they were within accepted ranges, and the resulting
distances and azimuthal angles. Pollution concentrations were
domain-averaged hourly MLDs were in qualitative agreement with
calculated hourly over the gridded 40  40 receptor network.
morning and evening MLD values reported in the Meteorological
Each of the resulting average daily concentration elds was
Service of Canada daily (FLCN39) smoke control forecasts. Surface
allocated to one of 72 groups. These groups were determined by:
characteristics varied by landuse class and Table 2 lists their ranges.
the source radius used in the simulations (3 possibilities), the
While many surface characteristics show seasonal variability, in
source azimuthal angle (8 possibilities) and a classication of
this analysis they were kept constant across all simulations. Typi-
atmospheric dispersion based on that days Environment Canada
cally, signicant albedo changes between the summer and winter
venting index (3 possibilities). The venting index is based on the
product of estimated mixed layer height and average wind speed
1 within this mixed layer. Stronger winds and/or deeper mixed layers
Available at: http://www.src.com/datasets/datasets_main.htm. produce higher index values. Calculated values are converted to
GOAT is the BC Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management GIS and Oracle a scale of 0100 and are classied as being: poor (VI < 34), fair
Access Tool system (http://srmwww.gov.bc.ca/gis/goat5/). (34 < VI < 54) or good (VI > 54).
B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401 2397

Table 3 mass-consistent wind elds consistent with its inputs (Cox et al.,
Breakdown of CALPUFF simulations by azimuthal direction and VI class. The number 2005). The second was a leave-one-out cross-validation (Wilks,
of valid simulations does not vary with radial distance.
2006) where CALMET was run without the inclusion of the P.G. Pulp
VI class N NE E SE S SW W NW All directions meteorological observations. Observations from this station were
Poor 145 114 39 39 237 83 37 24 718 then used for validation of the CALMET produced wind elds. Both
Fair 25 23 5 5 56 37 14 9 174 evaluations were performed over the 2004 year.
Good 36 11 2 6 50 50 38 10 203
From the mass-consistent input evaluation, it was found that the
All classes 206 148 46 50 343 170 89 43 1095 station normalized wind vector anomaly correlations (Breaker
et al., 1994) were above 0.92 at all stations and with vector root-
mean-square errors (RMSE) below 1.1 m/s. The CALMET absolute
Next, for each simulated burn event, the daily dominant wind wind speed errors were found to vary between 17% (PLAZA) and
direction was determined by nding the average wind direction 34% (NORT) of the mean observed station wind speeds. The analysis
from the 6 meteorological stations averaged over the 12-hour burn also showed CALMET consistently under-estimates wind speeds
period. Then, for each group, only those days where the dominant varying between 81% (AIRP) to 94% (UNBC) of the time. This under
wind direction was within 22.5 of the emission source were kept prediction is consistent with other CALMET model evaluation
for further analysis and all other simulations were discarded. In this studies (Cox et al., 2005) and does not appear to be related to
way, the analysis considers only days when the burning slash pile is atmospheric stability (not shown).
located directly upwind of the populated downtown Prince George For the cross-validation study, the P.G. Pulp meteorological
area. Table 3 lists the number of modeled days for each of the VI station was chosen because it lies well within the boundaries of the
classes and wind directions. modeling domain. Hourly wind vectors were extracted from the
CALMET wind elds (developed without the P.G. Pulp meteoro-
logical inputs) at the four grid cells neighbouring the P.G. Pulp
4. Results location. An inverse-distance weighting scheme was used to
interpolate the modeled winds to the P.G. Pulp meteorological
4.1. CALMET results station site for comparison with the actual observations. A scatter
plot of these observed versus predicted wind speeds is given in
Fig. 3 shows the domain-averaged CALMET predicted and Fig. 4 while wind roses of observed and predicted hourly wind
Environment Canada forecast MLD for 2004 at 0700 and 1600 LST. directions are given in Fig. 5. The scatter plot shows the cross-
In general, the agreement between the two models is good. The lack validation and observed winds are in agreement with each other up
of seasonal albedo variability in the CALMET modeling likely to about 5.0 m/s (18 km/hr) but underpredicts wind speeds at the
contributes to some of the MLD overprediction during the winter higher values. The model bias was 0.43 m/s with mean absolute
months. error of 0.75 m/s. The normalized wind vector anomaly correlation
To assess the validity of the CALMET gridded wind elds, two between the observed and predicted hourly winds for this analysis
evaluations were performed. The rst evaluation compared was 0.74 with a vector root-mean-square error of 1.4 m/s. CALMET
observed against predicted wind elds at the six meteorological under-estimates the observed winds 71% of the time. These results
stations and was intended to gauge CALMETs ability to produce compare favourably with surface wind evaluations performed with

A 3000
MLD (m agl)





Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Day 2004

B 3500


MLD (m agl)





Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Day 2004

Fig. 3. Calculated mixed layer depths from CALMET (dotted) and Environment Canada (solid) at 0700 (A) and 1600 (B) LST.
2398 B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401

12 selecting the station closest to the middle of the modeling domain.

It is expected that wind eld errors will be larger for locations
outside of the six surface station perimeter.
Predicted wind speed (m/s)

4.2. CALPUFF concentration elds

6 For each of the 72 emission scenarios (Table 3), all of the upwind
simulated burn events were used to calculate concentrations at the
98th percentile (P98). P98 values were found individually for each
4 of the 1600 (40  40) receptor sites and the resulting values plotted
and contoured at the 30 mg/m3 level (corresponding to the CWS
PM2.5 24-hour objective). By overlaying P98 elds from groups with
sources at the different azimuthal positions (but similar source
distances and VI classications), the inuence regions can be esti-
0 mated. Such plots are given in Fig. 6 for the 3 radial distances and 3
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 VI classes. In each of the nine plots, areas where the 24-hour
Observed wind speed (m/s) average concentration (at the 98th percentile) exceeds 30 mg/m3
are shaded green.
Fig. 4. Scatter plot of observed versus predicted hourly wind speeds at the P.G. Pulp
meteorological stations for 2004. The solid line gives the 1:1 line. The CALPUFF results show that under poor VI conditions, the
entire downtown area is susceptible to PM2.5 concentrations that
exceed the CWS, regardless of source distance from the downtown
the ClearSky smoke forecast system (Jain et al., 2007) and with area. Similarly, the analysis suggests under all VI conditions, slash
similar evaluations using diagnostic meteorological models (Cox burning within 5 km of the city has the potential to trigger CWS
et al., 2005). exceedances. The model suggests under good VI conditions, sources
In Fig. 5, the observed (A) and cross-validation (B) wind roses burning at distances greater than 10 km will not overly inuence
show CALMET reproduces the dominant NorthSouth wind direc- the city and sources at 15 km burning under fair conditions are also
tions at this location but tends to produce winds more often from likely to be acceptable. The one exception in this scenario appears
the NE than is observed. The average mean absolute error for wind to be the 15 km southerly sources (burning on days with the winds
direction was 33 which compares favourably with the observa- from the south). The model hints that some parts of the bowl area
tions that show the ClearSky smoke dispersion forecast system may not be overly inuenced from 10 km sources burning under
performs quite well on days where the forecast wind direction fair conditions. Thus, accepting burning under fair conditions at
error is less than 30 (Jain et al., 2007). 10 km should be considered a judgment call.
It is to be expected that the modeled wind eld errors, away From the composite plots, it is possible to estimate for each of
from station locations, will be greater than those obtained in the the 8 wind directions, the source distance (from the city center) at
mass-consistency validation analysis. For locations within the which the 30 mg/m3 contour just reaches the existing Clean Air
perimeter enclosed by the six surface stations, wind eld errors are Bylaw Boundary. These distances, dependent on the underlying
likely to be no worse than those found in the leave-one-out cross- stability (VI class), can then be used to identify MPB debris burning
validation analysis. The problem with estimating errors with this airshed boundaries (Fig. 7). In general, the boundaries are furthest
type of analysis is that the calculated errors represent a combina- from the city under poor VI conditions and closest under good VI
tion of both the limitations of the CALMET interpolation as well as conditions. For a given VI class, the northwesterly and southerly
the relative importance of the removed meteorological station at wind directions have the most distant boundaries, partly due to the
representing the local spatial wind eld variability. We have tried to elongated nature of the Clean Air Bylaw Boundary in these
isolate the model limitation errors in the cross-validation study by directions.

A Observed B Predicted
0 2000 0 2000
330 30 330 30

300 1000 60 300 1000 60

270 90 270 90

240 120 240 120

210 150 210 150

180 180

Fig. 5. Wind roses of hourly wind directions for 2004 at the P.G. Pulp meteorological station based on A) observations and B) the leave-one-out analysis. Note that directions are
with respect to North and give the direction from which the wind is blowing.
B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401 2399

5990 5990 5990

+ ++ + 5980
+ ++ + 5980
+ ++ +
++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++

5 km
8 12 16 8 12 16 8 12 16
+ 5970
+ 5970
5960 5960 5960

500 510 520 530 500 510 520 530 500 510 520 530

5990 5990 5990

5980 + + + 5980 + + + 5980 + + +

10 km
+ + + 8 12 16
+ + +8 12 16
+ + +8 12 16

+ + + + + + + + +
5960 5960 5960

500 510 520 530 500 510 520 530 500 510 520 530

+ 5990
+ 5990
+ + 5980
+ + 5980
+ +

15 km
+ + +
8 12 16
+ + +
8 12 16
+ + +
8 12 16

+ + + + + +
+ 5960
+ 5960
500 510 520 530 500 510 520 530 500 510 520 530
Poor Fair Good
Fig. 6. CALPUFF based composite plots of 98th percentile 30 mg/m3 concentrations for days with predicted morning VI indices of: poor, fair, and good and for source distances of 5,
10 and 15 km from the city center. Also shown in each plot is the existing Clean Air Bylaw boundary (hatched) and range rings at 8, 12 and 16 km (dotted).

5. Discussion We have repeated the analysis in order to investigate the

inuence of lower emission rates, stemming from the use of air
In order to facilitate the local air quality meteorologists job in curtain incinerators or trench burn Environmental Protection
the permitting of open wood waste burning, we have chosen to Agency (1995), on the inuence regions. The resulting inuence
delineate local airshed boundaries using Environment Canadas regions (not shown) indicate that by reducing the emission rates by
daily forecast ventilation index, the CWS PM2.5 standard and 62%, it is now acceptable to burn between 10 and 15 km of the city
atmospheric dispersion models. Based on our analysis, the center on days with fair or good VI conditions. It becomes a judg-
following general guidelines concerning MPB inuence regions can ment call whether to allow burning between 5 and 10 km of the
be inferred: city under good conditions and beyond 15 km under poor VI
 No burning, under any VI classes should be allowed within One problem with the use of the CWS in the operational
10 km of the city center. denition, is its dependence on 98th percentile concentrations.
 No burning, at any distance within 20 km from the city center After classifying each day by dominant wind direction and
should be allowed under poor VI conditions. stability, many of the CALPUFF groups do not have a large
 Under good VI conditions burning can be allowed between 10 number of members. The CALPUFF results would be more robust
and 15 km of the city center. through the use of a longer study period. This may not be as
 Burning can be allowed beyond 15 km away from the city important an issue in locations where wind roses show a more
center under fair and good VI conditions. uniform distribution.
 With a reliable wind from a direction away from the city, The analysis could be improved through the comparison of our
burning could be considered between 5 and 10 km from the dispersion model output against eld data. Unfortunately, there is
city center under good ventilation conditions. neither eld data nor events-of-opportunity which can be used
to validate the models. In an attempt to bracket model uncer-
The above analysis is based on only one burning wood pile, tainties, the analysis was repeated using the the AERMOD
multiple burning piles would incrementally increase the pollutant (Cimorelli et al., 2005) dispersion model. AERMOD is a steady-
levels. These recommendations are schematically represented in state Gaussian plume dispersion model used to estimate near-eld
Fig. 8. concentrations from industrial sources. While CALPUFF tracks the
2400 B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401








495 500 505 510 515 520 525 530

Fig. 8. Schematic of recommended safe burning regions under the different VI classes.
Note that with a reliable wind from a direction away from the city, burning could be
considered between 5 and 10 km from the city center under good ventilation condi-
tions (not shown). Also, the above gure is based on only one burning wood pile,
Fig. 7. CALPUFF based safe MPB-burn areas around the city of Prince George for
multiple burning piles would incrementally increase the pollutant levels. The hatched
different VI indices of poor (dashed), fair (solid) and good (dash-dot). Also shown is the
region is the existing Clean Air Bylaw boundary and the solid blue line marks the city
existing Clean Air Bylaw boundary (hatched), the city limits, major highways and
limits. Also shown are the major highways and rivers.

downwind advection and turbulent dispersion of a series of puffs such, our results must be considered exploratory rather than
emitted from a source, AERMOD calculates steady state pollution denitive. Furthermore, while the two models differ in their
concentrations given a set of meteorological conditions and terrain approach to calculating dispersion (steady-state Gaussian versus
characteristics. Both models are recommended for dispersion Lagrangian puff), because AERMOD was forced with the CALMET
calculations by the B.C. Ministry of the Environment (B.C. Ministry PBL depths, the two analyses cannot be considered entirely
of Environment, 2008) and because of their different approaches independent.
to modeling advection and turbulent transport, comparing their We have not included any forms of deposition or chemical
results may shed some insight into the level of uncertainty in our removal in our analysis. As such, these results likely give conser-
results. vative estimates for the impacted areas. Similarly, we have neither
Briey, as with the CALPUFF simulations, AERMOD was set up to included background PM2.5 concentrations nor the incremental
calculate downwind concentrations from a single burning slash pile impact of other sources in the airshed in our analysis. Consequently,
over the CALPUFF 40  40 receptor network. To characterize the greater burning restrictions are likely needed when ambient PM2.5
dispersive nature within the boundary layer, the AERMET meteo- are high. However, in many cases, these days occur on days with
rological processor was run with hourly observations of wind poor VI, which we suggest are not suitable for burning anyway. The
speed, wind direction, temperature, cloud ceiling, total cloud cover additional inuence of background concentrations on the safe
and sky opacity from the YXS airport meteorological station. We burning limits is likely to be most important under fair VI condi-
found the resulting AERMET calculated hourly PBL depths differed tions. It should be noted that the inuence of background
substantially from both the Environment Canada and CALPUFF concentrations in the determination of appropriate burning loca-
values. These differences were often in excess of a factor of two. tions could be considered through an assessment of the airsheds
Because of CALMETs more sophisticated methods to calculate MLD, assimilative capacity (Goyal and Chalapati Rao, 2007; Rama Krishna
and because of its reasonable agreement with the Environment et al., 2004; Manju et al., 2002). However, such an analysis would
Canada MLD, it was decided to force the AERMOD simulations with require the development of a detailed inventory of local PM2.5
the domain-averaged hourly CALPUFF MLD. All other AERMET sources. Such inventories often have large uncertainties and are
meteorological data was left unchanged. difcult to produce.
In general the AERMOD results were similar to the CALPUFF There are a number of specialized dispersion models that
results. The main difference with the AERMOD results were have been developed for the calculation of emissions and
narrower ground-level footprints along the cross-wind direction. dispersion of smoke from forest res (Ferguson, 2001). In
AERMOD also produces narrower neck-tie looking plumes, addition to meteorology and plume rise, these models take into
especially in the NorthSouth direction under good VI conditions. account factors like: ignition patterns; fuel availability and
The AERMOD MBP-debris burning airshed boundaries are in moisture content on smoke dispersion. However, because of the
qualitative agreement with the CALMET boundaries but places the small scale (100 m2) and isolated nature of the slash pile burning
airshed boundaries further away from the city center for winds modeled herein, we believe the treatment of the dispersion as
from the North. We must stress that this consistency between a buoyant point source with the CALPUFF (Scire et al., 1999) to be
models cannot replace comparisons with observations, and as a reasonable approach.
B. Ainslie, P.L. Jackson / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 23932401 2401

6. Conclusions B.C. Ministry of Environment, 2006. 2004 annual air quality report for Prince
George. Tech. rep., Environmental Protection Division, Prince George, B.C.
B.C. Ministry of Environment, 2008. Guidelines for air quality dispersion
We have used two different atmospheric dispersion models in modelling in British Columbia. Tech. rep., Environmental Protection Division,
order to delineate MPB burning inuence regions around the city of Victoria, B.C.
Prince George, B.C. Since these regions are not xed geographical B.C. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, 2003. Particulate matter in British
Columbia. Tech. rep., Environmental Protection Division, Victoria, B.C.
entities but dependent on many factors including pollutant, Brankov, E., Rao, S.T., Porter, P.S., 1998. A trajectory-clustering-correlation meth-
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Breaker, L.C., Gemmill, W.H., Crosby, D.S., 1994. The application of a technique for
adas ventilation index and the CWS PM2.5 standard. We have vector correlation to problems in meteorology and oceanography. Journal of
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Peters, W.D., Brode, R.W., 2005. AERMOD: a dispersion model for source
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 No burning, under any VI classes should be allowed within 81105.
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 No burning, at any distance within 20 km from the city center approach to dening real-time upwind threat zones. In: 5th Symposium on the
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 Under good VI conditions burning can be allowed between 10 wind models (CALMET, MCSCIPUFF, and SWIFT) with wind data from the Dipole
and 15 km of the city center. Pride 26 eld experiments. Meteorological Applications 12, 329341.
 Burning can be allowed beyond 15 km away from the city Dennis, R.L., Mathur, R., 2001. Airshed domains for modeling atmospheric deposi-
tion of oxidized and reduced nitrogen to the Neuse/Pamlico system of North
center under fair and good VI conditions. Carolina. Hydrological Science and Technology 17, 107117.
 Under good ventilation conditions, and when wind direction is Dudhia, J., 1993. A nonhydrostatic version of the Penn State/NCAR mesoscale model:
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Ferguson, S.A., 2001. Smoke dispersion prediction systems. In: Hardy, C.C.,
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Goyal, S.K., Chalapati Rao, C.V., 2007. Air assimilative capacity-based environmental
to assure the modeling was performed as well as possible using friendly siting of new industries a case study of Kochi region, India. Journal of
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boundary layer over an area with an irregular coastline. Boundary-Layer
dispersion results against observational data (such data does not
Meteorology 78, 405413.
exist for this airshed). While we have tried to bracket the uncer- Jain, R., Vaughan, J., Heitkamp, K., Ramos, C., Claiborn, C., Schreuder, M., Schaaf, M.,
tainty in our analysis by using second model which handles Lamb, B., 2007. Development of the ClearSky smoke dispersion forecast system
atmospheric dispersion in a different way, we cannot place uncer- for agricultural eld burning in the Pacic Northwest. Atmospheric Environ-
ment 41, 67456761.
tainty limits on our analysis. Long, G.E., Cordova, J.F., Tanrikulu, S., August 2004. An analysis of AERMOD sensi-
Furthermore, the analysis seeks to quantify the potential incre- tivity to input parameters in the San Francisco Bay area. In: 12th Conference on
mental impacts of burning MBP killed timber on the local air the Applications of Air Pollution Meteorology with the Air and Waste
Management Association. Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
quality. Because of this, and because of the need to make recom- Manju, N., Balakrishnan, R., Mani, N., 2002. Assimilative capacity and pollutant
mendations which are broadly applicable, the analysis has excluded dispersion studies for the industrial zone of Manali. Atmospheric Environment
important factors such as background pollution, other emission 36, 34613471.
Pielke, R.A., Cotton, W.R., Walko, R.L., Tremback, C.J., Lyons, W.A., Grasso, L.D.,
sources, chemistry, and dry deposition. Consequently, it is intended Nicholls, M.E., Moran, M.D., Wesley, D.A., Lee, T.J., Copeland, J.H., 1992. A
that this analysis be used along side the local air pollution mete- comprehensive meteorological modeling systemrams. Meteorology and
orologists expert knowledge when permitting open burning. Atmospheric Physics 49, 6991.
Rama Krishna, T.V.B.P.S., Reddy, M.K., Reddy, R.C., Singh, R.N., 2004. Assimilative
capacity and dispersion of pollutants due to industrial sources in Visakha-
Acknowledgments patnam bowl area. Atmospheric Environment 38, 67756787.
Scire, J.S., Robe, F.R., Femau, M.E., Yamartino, R.J., 2000. A Users Guide for the CALMET
Meteorological Model (Version 5). Tech. rep. Earth Tech Inc., Concord, MA.
Special thanks to Dr. John Spagnol for setting up the CALPUFF
Scire, J.S., Strimaitis, D.G., Robe, F.R., October 2005. Evaluation of enhancements to
modeling domain and his assistance with some of the graphics. We the Calpuff model for offshore and coastal application. In: 10th International
would also like to thank Wendy Nordin at the City of Prince George Conference on Harmonisation Within Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling for
for her GIS work. Regional Purposes. Sissi, Crete, Greece.
Scire, J.S., Strimaitis, D.G., Yamartino, R.J., 1999. A Users Guide for the CALPUFF
Dispersion Model (Version 5). Tech. rep. Earth Tech Inc., Concord, MA.
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