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3.1.2 Factors to Consider

Issues of representativeness will always involve case-by-case subjective judgements; consequently, experts knowledgeable in meteorological monitoring and air quality modeling should be included in the site selection process. The following information is provided for consideration in such decisions. Readers are referred to a 1982 workshop report [10] on representativeness for further information on this topic.

  • It is important to recognize that, although certain meteorological variables may be considered unrepresentative of another site (for instance, wind direction or wind speed), other variables may be representative (such as temperature, dew point, cloud cover). Exclusion of one variable does not necessarily exclude all. For instance, one can argue that weather observations made at different locations are likely to be similar if the observers at each location are within sight of one another - a stronger argument can be made for some types of observations (e.g., cloud cover) than others. Although, by no means a sufficient condition, the fact that two observers can "see" one another supports a conclusion that they would observe similar weather conditions.

  • In general, the representativeness of the meteorological data used in an air quality modeling analysis is dependent on the proximity of the meteorological monitoring site to the “area-of-interest”.

  • Spatial representativeness of the data will almost always be adversely affected (degraded) by increasing the distance between the sources and receptors (increasing the size of the area-of-interest).

  • Although proximity of the meteorological monitoring site is an important factor,representativeness is not simply a function of distance. In some instances, even though meteorological data are acquired at the location of the pollutant source, they may not correctly characterize the important atmospheric dispersion conditions; e.g., dispersion conditions affecting sources located on the coast are strongly affected by off-shore air/sea boundary conditions - data collected at the source would not always reflect these conditions.

  • Representativeness is a function of the height of the measurement. For example, one can expect more site-to-site variability in measurements taken close to the surface compared to measurements taken aloft. As a consequence, upper-air measurements are generally representative of much larger spatial domains then are surface measurements.

  • Where appropriate, data representativeness should be viewed in terms of the appropriateness of the data for constructing realistic boundary layer profiles and three dimensional meteorological fields.

  • Factors that should be considered in selecting a monitoring site in complex terrain include: the aspect ratio and slope of the terrain, the ratios of terrain height to stack height and plume height, the distance of the source from the terrain feature, and the effects of terrain features on meteorological conditions, especially wind speed and wind direction. 

 3.1 Representativeness 
     3.1.1 Objectives for Siting 
     3.1.2 Factors to Consider  
 3.2 Simple Terrain Locations 
     3.2.1 Speed and Wind Direction  
     3.2.2 Temperature, Temperature Difference, and Humidity
     3.2.3 Precipitation  
     3.2.4 Pressure 
      3.2.5 Radiation 
 3.3 Complex Terrain Locations  
     3.3.1 Wind Speed  
     3.3.2 Wind Direction 
     3.3.3 Temperature Difference 
  3.4 Coastal Locations
 3.5 Urban Locations 
 3.6 Recommendations

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