On the model uncertainties in Bayesian source reconstruction using an ensemble of weather predictions, the emission inverse modelling system FREAR v1.0, and the Lagrangian transport and dispersion model Flexpart v9.0.2

Pieter De Meutter, Ian Hoffman, Kurt Ungar

    Research outputpeer-review


    Bayesian source reconstruction is a powerful tool for determining atmospheric releases. It can be used, amongst other applications, to identify a point source releasing radioactive particles into the atmosphere. This is relevant for applications such as emergency response in case of a nuclear accident or Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty verification. The method involves solving an inverse problem using environmental radioactivity observations and atmospheric transport models. The Bayesian approach has the advantage of providing an uncertainty quantification on the inferred source parameters. However, it requires the specification of the inference input errors, such as the observation error and model error. The latter is particularly hard to provide as there is no straightforward way to determine the atmospheric transport and dispersion model error. Here, the importance of model error is illustrated for Bayesian source reconstruction using a recent and unique case where radionuclides were detected on several continents. A numerical weather prediction ensemble is used to create an ensemble of atmospheric transport and dispersion simulations, and a method is proposed to determine the model error.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1237-1252
    Number of pages16
    JournalGeoscientific Model Development
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 8 Mar 2021

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