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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-96
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Development and technical paper 17 May 2017

Development and technical paper | 17 May 2017

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Studying the Impact of Radioactive Charging on the Microphysical Evolution and Transport of Radioactive Aerosols with the TOMAS-RC v1 framework

Petros Vasilakos1, Yong-Ηa Kim2, Jeffrey R. Pierce3, Sotira Yiacoumi2, Costas Tsouris2,4, and Athanasios Nenes1,5,6,7 Petros Vasilakos et al.
  • 1School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, 30332, USA
  • 2School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, 30332, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80524, USA
  • 4Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 37831-6181, USA
  • 5School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, 30332, USA
  • 6Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, Patras, GR 26504, Greece
  • 7National Observatory of Athens, Palea Penteli, GR 15236, Greece

Abstract. Radioactive charging can significantly impact the way radioactive aerosols behave, and as a result their lifetime, but such effects are neglected in predictive model studies of radioactive plumes. The objective of this work is to determine the influence of radioactive charging on the vertical transport of radioactive aerosols in the atmosphere, through its effect on coagulation and deposition, as well as quantifying the impact of this charging on aerosol lifetime. The TwO-Moment Aerosol Sectional (TOMAS) microphysical model was extended to account for radioactive charging effects on coagulation in a computationally efficient way. The expanded model, TOMAS-RC (TOMAS with Radioactive Charging effects), was then used to simulate the microphysical evolution and deposition of radioactive aerosol (containing the isotopes 131I and 137Cs) in a number of idealized atmospheric transport experiments. Results indicate that radioactive charging can facilitate or suppress coagulation of radioactive aerosols, thus influencing the deposition patterns and total amount of radioactive aerosol mass available for long-range transport. Sensitivity simulations to uncertain parameters affirm the potential importance of radioactive charging effects. An important finding is that charging of neutral, coarse mode aerosol from background radiation can reduce coagulation rates and extend its lifetime in the atmosphere by up to a factor of 2.

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Petros Vasilakos et al.
Petros Vasilakos et al.
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Short summary
Radioactive charging can significantly impact the way radioactive aerosols behave, and as a result their lifetime, but such effects are neglected in predictive model studies of radioactive plumes. We extend a well-established model that simulates the evolution of atmospheric particulate matter to account for radioactive charging effects in an accurate and computationally efficient way. It is shown that radioactivity can strongly impact the deposition patterns of aerosol.
Radioactive charging can significantly impact the way radioactive aerosols behave, and as a...
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