Corrections to the mathematical formulation of a backwards lagrangian particle dispersion model

Max Gibson, David J. Sailor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This technical note introduces some corrections to the Lagrangian particle dispersion model of Rotachetal. (Q J R Meteorol Soc 122:367-389,1996). 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-406
Number of pages8
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 3 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric turbulence
  • Dispersion mode
  • Lagrangian models
  • Numerical simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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