Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 399–406 | Cite as

Corrections to the Mathematical Formulation of a Backwards Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model

  • Max Gibson
  • David J. Sailor
Research Note


This technical note introduces some corrections to the Lagrangian particle dispersion model of Rotach et al. (Q J R Meteorol Soc 122:367–389, 1986). Careful mathematical derivation following the detailed explanations in that paper uncovered some unit inconsistencies that were the result of mistaken function definitions. Errors are noted in the drift correction, or “probability current” of the particle dispersion model as well as in parameterization of turbulence terms, which are necessary inputs to the model. The probability current comprises Gaussian, convective, and solenoidal components, with derivation errors discovered in the latter two components. All errors are presented along with new formulations that are mathematically consistent, correct the original problems, and adhere to the underlying Gaussian nature of the particle dispersion phenomenon. The corrections shown here should provide more accurate results for particle dispersion models based upon the work of Rotach et al., as well as resolve points of confusion for future researchers referring to that work.


Atmospheric turbulence Dispersion model Lagrangian models Numerical simulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical and Materials EngineeringPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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