Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards

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On-Site Meteorological Program Guidance

For Regulatory Modeling Applications


Office of Air and Radiation

Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards

Research Triangle Park, NC 277ll

June 1987


This report has been reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has been approved for publication as an EPA document. Any mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.


This is a Wordperfect reissue of the June 1987 EPA document, "On-Site Meteorological Program Guidance for Regulatory Modeling Applications", EPA-450/4-87-013. The reissue includes necessary changes to provide guidance on the solar radiation delta-T (SRDT) method for estimating P-G stability; this fulfills a commitment made in Supplement C to the Guideline on Air Quality Models. Also included are revisions associated with Supplement B to the Guideline (published as an addendum to the on-site guidance in February 1993) and corrections published in September 1993. Users should note that most of the Supplement C revisions, as well as the earlier revisions affect Section 6 (Meteorological Data Processing Methods). Other changes are cosmetic and are associated with the conversion of the document to Wordperfect; the conversion especially improves the appearance of the equations in Section 6. The Supplement C changes have been redlined to aid users in identifying new and/or revised material.

As indicated in the June 1987 preface, this document provides EPA's guidance on the collection and use of on-site meteorological data for regulatory modeling applications. It is intended to guide the EPA Regional Offices and States in reviewing proposed meteorological monitoring plans, and is the basis for the advice and direction given to applicants by the Regional Offices and States. For ease of reference, recommendations are summarized at the end of each section. If the recommendations in this document are not achievable, then alternate approaches should be developed on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with the Regional Office.


The orginal (June 1987) document was prepared by the On-site Meteorological Data Work Group, formed in December 1985 and chaired by Roger Brode, EPA-OAQPS. Its members and their contributions are as follows: Edward Bennett, NY State DEC, Section 6.6; Roger Brode, EPA-OAQPS, Sections 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0; James Dicke, EPA-OAQPS, Section 5.2; Robert Eskridge, EPA-ASRL, Sections 6.2 and 6.3; Mark Garrison, EPA-Region III, Sections 3.2 and 9.0; John Irwin, EPA­ASRL, Sections 6.1 and 6.4; Michael Koerber, EPA-Region V, Sections 3.1 and 3.3; Thomas Lockhart, Meteorological Standards Institute, Section 8.0; Timothy Method, EPA-Region V, Section 3.4; Stephen Perkins, EPA-Region I, Sections 6.5 and 7.0; and Robert Wilson, EPA-Region X, Sections 5.1 and 8.6, and parts of Sections 8.1, 8.2, and 8.5. Through their internal reviews and numerous discussions, all of the work group members have contributed to shaping the document as a whole. The work group wishes to acknowledge the time and effort of those, both within and outside of EPA, who provided technical review comments on the document. The work group also acknowledges the support and helpful guidance of Joseph A. Tikvart, EPA-OAQPS.

This reissue of the document was prepared by Desmond T. Bailey with secretarial assistance from Ms. Brenda Cannady. Technical advice and guidance was provided by John Irwin.



PREFACE . . . . . . . iii






1.1 Background. . . . 1-1

1.2 Purpose and Scope 1-2

1.3 Organization of Document 1-3


2.1 Wind Speed 2-1

2.1.1 Cup Anemometers 2-2

2.1.2 Vane oriented and Fixed mount Propeller Anemometers 2-2

2.1.3 Wind Speed Transducers 2-3

2.2 Wind Direction 2-4

2.2.1 Wind Vanes 2-5

2.2.2 U V and UVW Systems 2-5

2.2.3 Wind Direction Transducers 2-5

2.2.4 Standard Deviation and Turbulence Data 2-6

2.3 Temperature and Temperature Difference 2-7

2.3.1 Classes of Temperature Sensors 2-7

2.3.2 Response Characteristics 2-8

2.3.3 Temperature Difference 2-8

2.3.4 Sources of Error 2-9

2.4 Atmospheric Water Vapor 2-9

2.4.1 Units of Measurement 2-9

2.4.2 Types of Instrumentation 2-10

2.5 Precipitation 2-10

2.6 Pressure 2-12

2.7 Radiation 2-13

2.8 Mixing Height 2-14

2.9 Recommendations 2-14



3.1 General Guidance 3-1

3.1.1 Wind Speed and Wind Direction 3-1

3.1.2 Temperature, Temperature Difference and Water Vapor 3-4

3.1.3 Precipitation 3-6

3.1.4 Pressure 3-7

3.1.5 Radiation 3-7

3.2 Complex Terrain Sites 3-8

3.2.1 Wind Speed 3-10

3.2.2 Wind Direction 3-10

3.2.3 Temperature Difference 3-11

3.3 Coastal Sites 3-13

3.4 Urban Sites 3-13

3.5 Recommendations 3-14


4.1 Signal Conditioning 4-1

4.2 Recording Mechanisms 4-1

4.3 Analog to Digital Conversion 4-2

4.4 Data Communication 4-2

4.5 Sampling Rates 4-2

4.6 Recommendations 4-3


5.1 System Accuracies 5-1

5.2 Response Characteristics of On Site Meteorological Sensors 5-2

5.3 Data Recovery 5-3

5.3.1 Data Base Considerations 5-3

5.3.2 Completeness Requirement 5-3

5.3.4 Handling of Missing Data 5-7

5.4 Recommendations 5-7



6.1 Wind Data Processing 6-1

6.1.1 Notation 6-2

6.1.2 Computation 6-3

6.1.3 Vertical Profiles 6-9

6.1.4 Sampling Rate 6-12

6.2 Temperature Data Processing 6-12

6.3 Data Processing for Other Primary Variables 6-15

6.4 Processing Derived Meteorological Variables 6-15

6.4.1 Standard Deviation of Vertical Wind Direction 6-15

6.4.2 Surface Roughness Length 6-17

6.4.3 Surface Friction Velocity 6-18

6.4.4 Pasquill-Gifford Stability Categories 6-20

6.4.5 Other Stability Measures 6-31

6.5 Model Inputs 6-33

6.5.1 Formats 6-33

6.5.2 Treatment of Calms 6-33

6.5.3 Treatment of Missing Data 6-34

6.6 Use and Representativeness of Off-site Data 6-35

6.6.1 Representativeness of Meteorological Data 6-35

6.6.2 Alternative Meteorological Data Sources 6-39

6.7 Recommendations 6-41


7.1 Reporting Formats 7-1

7.1.1 Preprocessed Data 7-1

7.1.2 SAROAD/AIRS 7-1

7.2 Archiving 7-2

7.2.1 Raw Data 7-2

7.2.2 Preprocessed Data 7-2

7.2.3 Retention Time 7-2

7.3 Recommendations 7-3



8.1 Instrument Procurement 8-2

8.1.1 Wind Speed 8-3

8.1.2 Wind Direction 8-4

8.1.3 Temperature and Temperature Difference 8-5

8.1.4 Dew Point Temperature 8-6

8.1.5 Precipitation 8-6

8.1.6 Pressure 8-7

8.1.7 Radiation 8-7

8.2 Acceptance Testing 8-7

8.2.1 Wind Speed 8-7

8.2.2 Wind Direction 8-8

8.2.3 Temperature and Temperature Difference 8-9

8.2.4 Dew Point Temperature 8-9

8.2.5 Precipitation 8-10

8.2.6 Pressure 8-10

8.2.7 Radiation 8-10

8.3 Routine Calibrations 8-11

8.3.1 Sensor Check 8-11

8.3.2 Signal Conditioner and Recorder Check 8-15

8.3.3 Calibration Data Logs 8-17

8.3.4 Calibration Report 8-18

8.3.5 Calibration Schedule/Frequency 8-18

8.3.6 Data Correction Based on Calibration Results 8-19

8.4 Audits 8-20

8.4.1 Schedule 8-21

8.4.2 Scope 8-21

8.4.3 Audit Report 8-22

8.4.4 Audit Responses or Corrective Action 8-22

8.5 Operational Checks and Preventive Maintenance 8-22

8.5.1 Visual Inspection 8-23

8.5.2 Manual Inspection 8-23

8.5.3 Recorder Inspection 8-23

8.5.4 Preventive Maintenance 8-24

8.6 Data Validation 8-27

8.6.1 Manual Data Review 8-28

8.6.2 Data Screening Tests 8-28

8.6.3 Comparison Program 8-28

8.6.4 Further Evaluations 8-29

8.7 Recommendations 8-29



9.1 SODAR Fundamentals 9-3

9.2 Siting and Exposure 9-8

9.3 Operation and Maintenance; Quality Control 9-11

9.4 Quality Assurance 9-15

9.5 Data Validation, Data Management and Data Use 9-18

9.5.1 Data Validation 9-18

9.5.2 Data Management 9-20

9.5.3 Data Use 9-21

9.6 Recommendations 9-26



Table No. Title Page

5-1 Recommended System Accuracies and Resolutions 5-2

5-2 Recommended Response Characteristics for Meteorological

Sensors 5-4

6-1 Recommended Power Law Exponents for Urban and Rural

Wind Profiles 6-10

6-2 Terrain Classification in Terms of Effective Surface

Roughness Length, zo 6-18

6-3 Original Definitions of Pasquill-Gifford (P-G)

Stability Categories 6-20

6-4 Turner's Key to P-G Stability Categories 6-23

6-5 Insolation Class as a Function of Solar Altitude 6-23

6-6 Insolation-Based Key to P-G Stability Categories 6-24

6-7a Vertical Turbulence Criteria for Initial

Estimate of P-G Stability Category 6-25

6-7b Wind Speed Adjustments for Determining Final Estimate of

P-G Stability Category from E 6-26

6-8a Lateral Turbulence Criteria for Initial

Estimate of P-G Stability Category 6-28

6-8b Wind Speed Adjustments for Determining Final Estimate of

P-G Stability Category from A 6-29

8-1 Example Performance Specification for an Anemometer 8-3

8-2 Example Performance Specification for a Wind Vane 8-4

8-3 Suggested Data Screening Criteria 8-31


1.1 Background

The use of on-site meteorological data to support air quality impact analyses has grown steadily over recent years. The impetus for this is provided in part by the guidance contained in "Ambient Monitoring Guide­lines for Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD)"1 which is incor­porated in the 1980 PSD regulations2 in support of the 1977 Amendments to the Clean Air Act. Moreover, it is generally recognized that valid on-site data provide a more accurate characterization of the meteorological conditions affecting the transport and dispersion of pollutants emitted by a source than data from a distant location. Subsequent generations of air quality models may require additional on-site meteorological data to characterize the dis­persive properties of the atmosphere. The use of on-site meteorological data can therefore be expected to continue to increase in the future.

The PSD Monitoring Guidelines provide only limited guidance on basic instrument accuracy requirements and quality assurance. The quality assurance aspects of on-site meteorological measurements are discussed more completely in another EPA publication, "Quality Assurance Handbook for Air Pollution Measurement Systems: Volume IV. Meteorological Measurements."3 However, the Quality Assurance Handbook provides guidance most useful for designing a quality assurance program but does not provide specific proce­dural recommendations necessary for the actual implementation of a quality assurance program in the field. Additional guidance on the application of on-site meteorological data to air quality dispersion models is contained in EPA's "Guideline on Air Quality Models (Revised)."4 Other sources of information about on-site meteorological monitoring programs include specific air quality model user's guides, an EPA-sponsored workshop report entitled "On-site Meteorological Instrumentation Requirements to Characterize Diffusion from Point Sources,"5 and the American Nuclear Society's "Standard for Deter­mining Meteorological Information at Nuclear Power Sites."6 The model user's guides provide limited guidance on the collection and preparation of on-site meteorological data for individual models.

1.2 Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this document is to provide relatively specific guidance for developing on-site meteorological measurement programs by:

 Consolidating appropriate guidance into a single document;

 Expanding guidance to fill the gaps between existing documents, e.g., data processing procedures;

 Providing guidance to those users who wish to collect and use on-site meteorological data for air quality modeling analyses consistent with the "Guideline on Air Quality Models (Revised);"

 Providing clear recommendations, where justified and appropriate, regarding specific procedures and methods;

 Anticipating to the extent possible, the meteorological data input needs of future generations of regulatory dispersion models; and

 Emphasizing that quality assured on-site data, when available, are preferred for use in air quality analyses.

On-site refers to the collection of data at the actual site of a source that are representative, in a spatial and temporal sense, of the dispersion condi­tions for the source. This document makes available comprehensive and detailed guidance for on-site meteorological measurement programs, covering initial design and siting of a system through data processing, up to air quality model input.

1.3 Organization of Document

The document is organized to address the different phases of an on-site meteorological monitoring program in separate sections. Where appro­priate, different meteorological variables are treated separately by subsec­tions. For ease of reference, recommendations are summarized at the end of each section. However, the discussions in each section should be read to fully understand the recommendations in their proper context.

Section 2.0 provides general background and instrument design-re­lated information on the various primary meteorological variables, including wind speed, wind direction, temperature, temperature difference, water vapor, precipitation, pressure, radiation, and mixing height. Section 3.0 provides an extensive discussion of siting and exposure considerations, including examination of several special siting situations. Meteorological data record­ing systems are addressed in Section 4.0, and system performance recommenda­tions are presented in Section 5.0. Section 6.0 addresses meteorological data processing methods, one of the areas where guidance has been most needed and most lacking. The discussion in Section 6.0 includes basic computational methods for primary variables and methods for determining several derived variables. Data reporting and archiving are addressed in Section 7.0, and quality assurance and maintenance are the subjects of Section 8.0. Finally, Section 9.0 provides a discussion of Doppler SODAR which addresses all of these major topics for the particular applications of that instrument system. All references are listed in Section 10.0.


This section provides general background information on instrument design characteristics for the meteorological variables of wind speed, wind direc­tion, temperature, temperature difference, atmospheric water vapor, precipita­tion, pressure, radiation, and mixing height. These variables are considered primary in that they are generally measured directly and are not dependent on or derived from other variables. Derived variables, such as atmospheric stability category and surface roughness length, are discussed in Section 6.4.

Many systems are available for measuring each of the variables discussed. The most appropriate choice of sensing equipment for a particular situation depends on the application(s) for which the data are to be used. Guided by the performance specifications given in Section 5.0, the individual responsible for designing an on-site meteorological monitoring system must balance several considerations, such as accuracy and responsiveness, durability, purchase price, and maintenance costs. In addition, the costs of carrying out a successful monitoring program do not end with the purchase of the appropriate sensors. Depending on the instrument selected, additional equipment for signal conditioning, recording, and possibly electronic data processing are needed. There are also the labor and equipment costs involved in siting, installation, maintenance and calibration of the equipment, and for review, validation, and processing of the data.

This section focuses on those classes of instruments that are considered best suited for routine on-site monitoring programs, and which generally have had the widest use. Recommendations are summarized at the end of the section. Additional information and illustrations for the instruments described in this section, as well as other types of instrumentation not covered in this document, e.g. sonic anemometers, may be found in the Quality Assurance Handbook, Volume IV,3 as well as in References 7, 8, 9, and 10.

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