Midtown Manhattan, NY 2005 (MID05) SF6 Atmospheric Tracer Field Tests


The NOAA Air Resources Laboratory Field Research Division (ARLFRD) participated in an atmospheric tracer field study in Midtown Manhattan, NY during August 2005. The study is the second of three experiments under New York City’s Urban Dispersion Program (UDP) and has since become known as MID05. UDP was designed to research and predict how chemical and biological pollutants would transport and disperse throughout a large city environment. UDP will expand on the knowledge gained from similar tracer studies conducted in smaller urban cities such as in Oklahoma City (Joint Urban 2003) and Salt Lake City (Urban 2000).


The study is designed to study four areas of airborne transport. They are:


View of the Midtown Manhattan, NY skyline.

  • Movement of airborne tracers throughout the streets and around the tall buildings in Midtown Manhattan;

  • Infiltration of an airborne tracer into a Midtown Manhattan office building;

  • Movement of airborne tracers through the subways in Midtown Manhattan;

  • Personal exposure to tracers of individuals moving around the Midtown Manhattan study area.


Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) atmospheric tracer was disseminated during 6 daytime Intensive Observation Periods (IOPs). Each IOP consisted of either two or three quasi-continuous (30-minute) point releases with rates ranging between 3-5 g s-1. ARLFRD operated 5 tracer analyzers (four stationary and 1 mobile) to measure the SF6 in real-time. ARLFRD also measured SF6 using 36 programmable integrating samplers at street-level and an additional 4 programmable integrating samplers on the roof of several skyscrapers. A number of different quality control samplers were also used during the study to help increase the confidence of the data collection. ARLFRD also set up a sonic anemometer and a temperature/relative humidity probe to help measure the initial weather conditions at the release site.


Miscellaneous pictures

Collaborators (20+) including:


Roger Carter
1750 Foote Dr.
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
email: Roger.Carter@noaa.gov

Modified: March 1, 2011
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