ARL News

Report from Oklahoma City


July 18, 2003

The majority of the ARL Field Research Division (FRD) staff from Idaho Falls is now in Oklahoma City for the field deployment portion of the Joint Urban 2003 campaign. It was no small feat in getting here. First, for the tracer studies, 67 new bag samplers and 325 new plastic cartridges of a completely new design were conceived, fabricated, and built entirely with FRD ingenuity. The existing 140 bag samplers and 650 paper cartridges were also readied for deployment. This effort alone resulted in the installation and cleaning of more than 11,000 sample bags! All of the samplers and cartridges, together with four newly built FRD gas chromatographs, 10 realtime SF6 analyzers, and an SF6 release mechanism were packed into three large vehicles for the 1500 miles trip across the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains to Oklahoma City.

FRD is not alone in OKC, although it received the lion’s share of the $6.5 million budget allocated for this project. ARL’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division is also represented, as well as Argonne National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Army Research Laboratory, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Utah, and Arizona State University, and so forth. This list is not complete, but gives some flavor of the magnitude of the project and its visibility.

The first Intensive Observation Period (IOP) was conducted on 29 June. FRD’s samplers were deployed on building tops, in the underground tunnel system similar to that of Crystal City, as well as on power and light poles. Nine of FRD’s SF6 analyzers were deployed in stationary positions in the downtown area between the tall buildings to measure instantaneous concentrations dispersed by the upwind building. One SF6 analyzer was used in a mobile mode to provide realtime updates of the SF6 plume position and concentration. Preliminary results show a substantial amount of the tracer material being lifted to at least building-top height. Nine more IOPs are scheduled to occur in the month of July before the crew can pack up and leave for home.

Contact information: Kirk L. Clawson
Phone: (208) 526-2742