Evaluating the added value of multi-input atmospheric transport ensemble modeling for applications of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty organization (CTBTO)

Christian Maurer, Arnold Arias, J. Brioude, M. Haselsteiner, Florian Weidle, Leopold Haimberger, P. Skomorowski, P. Bourgouin

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) runs to date operationally an atmospheric transport modeling chain in backward mode based on operational deterministic European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts-Integrated Forecasting System (ECMWF-IFS) and on National Centers for Environmental Prediction-Global Forecast System (NCEP-GFS) input data. Meanwhile, ensemble dispersion modeling is becoming more and more widespread due to the ever increasing computational power and storage capacities. The potential benefit of this approach for current and possible future CTBTO applications was investigated using data from the ECMWF-Ensemble Prediction System (EPS). Five different test cases - among which are the ETEX-I experiment and the Fukushima accident - were run in backward or forward mode and - in the light of a future operational application - special emphasis was put on the performance of an arbitrarily selected 10- versus the full 51-member ensemble. For those test cases run in backward mode and based on a puff release it became evident that Possible Source Regions (PSRs) can be meaningfully reduced in size compared to results based solely on the deterministic run by applying minimum and probability of exceedance ensemble metrics. It was further demonstrated that a given puff release of 4E10 Bq of Se-75 can be reproduced within the meteorological uncertainty range [1.9E9 Bq,1.7E13 Bq] including a probability for not exceeding an assumed upper limit source term using simple scaling of a measurement with the corresponding ensemble metrics of backward fields. For the test cases run in forward mode it was found that the control run as well as 10- and 51-member medians all exhibit similar performance in time series evaluation. Maximum rank difference adds up to less than 10% with reference to possible rank values [0,4]. The maximum difference in the Brier score for both ensembles is less than 3%. The main added value of the ensemble lies in producing meteorologically induced concentration uncertainties and thus explaining observed measurements at specific sites. Depending on the specific test case and on the ensemble size between 27 and 74% of samples all lie within concentration ranges derived from the different meteorological fields used. In the future uncertainty information per sample could be used in a full source term inversion to account for the meteorological uncertainty in a proper way. It can be concluded that a 10-member meteorological ensemble is good enough to already benefit from useful ensemble properties. Meteorological uncertainty to a large degree is covered by the 10-member subset because forecast uncertainty is largely suppressed due to concatenating analyses and short term forecasts, as required in the operational CTBTO procedure, on which this study focuses. Besides, members from different analyses times are on average unrelated. It was recommended to Working Group B of CTBTO to implement the ensemble system software in the near future.

Institut für Meteorologie und Geophysik
Externe Organisation(en)
Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) , Université de La Réunion
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
ÖFOS 2012
105206 Meteorologie
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