Stability Classes

In the late 1960s, Pasquill developed a method for classifying atmospheric conditions which was later modified by Gifford (1975), resulting in six stability classes, labeled A through F. The method was based on the amount of incoming solar radiation, cloud cover, and surface wind speed as shown in Table 5.8.1.

Stability greatly affects plume behavior as demonstrated by the dispersion curves discussed above. Classes E and F indicate stable air in which stratification strongly dampens mechanical turbulence, typically with strong winds in a constant wind direction. These conditions can produce a fanning plume that does not rise much and retains a narrow shape in the vertical dimension for a long distance downwind as shown in part (a) of Figure 5.8.8.

A situation where a plume in a stable layer is brought quickly to the surface by turbulence in a less stable layer is termed fumigation and is shown in part (b) of Figure 5.8.8. This can occur as the result of heat convection in the morning.

Class D stability is neutral, with moderate winds and even mixing properties. These conditions produce a coning plume as shown in part (c) of Figure 5.8.8. Classes A, B, and C represent unstable conditions which indicate various levels of extensive mixing. These conditions can produce a looping plume as shown in part (d). If the effective stack height exceeds the mixing height, the plume is assumed to remain above it, and no ground-level concentrations are calculated. This effect is known as lofting and is shown in part (e).

Rough terrain or heat islands from cities increase the amount of turbulence and change the classification of ambient conditions, usually upward one stability class.

In general, a plume under stability class A conditions affects areas immediately near the emission source with high concentrations. Class F stability causes the plume to reach ground level further away, with a lower concentration (unless terrain is a factor).

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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