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Effect of forest edges on deposition of radioactive aerosols

Ould-Dada Z, Copplestone D, Toal ME & Shaw G (2002) Effect of forest edges on deposition of radioactive aerosols, Atmospheric Environment, 36 (36-37), pp. 5595-5606.

The possible enhancement of aerosol deposition at forest edges was investigated in a wind tunnel and in the field. The wind tunnel study was carried out using 0.82 μm mass median aerodynamic diameter uranium particles and a composite canopy of rye grass and spruce saplings. The field study was undertaken at a coniferous woodland near to BNFL Sellafield, Cumbria, UK. Two transects were set through the woodland to determine the influence of the forest edge on atmospheric deposition of radionuclides released under authorisation from the Sellafield site. Results from the wind tunnel study showed that the deposition flux of uranium particles decreased with distance downwind from the grass–tree edge towards the interior of the canopy. The deposition flux at the edge was maximal at about 4×10−7 μg of U cm−2 s−1. This was 3 times higher than that observed over grass where a constant flux of about 1.32×10−7 μg of U cm−2 s−1 occurred. Results from the field study showed a clear influence of the forest edge on the atmospheric deposition of 241Am and 137Cs. Activity depositions of around 4750 and 230 Bqm−2 for 137Cs and 241Am, respectively, were measured in front of the woodland. Activity deposition inside the forest edge, however, rose to levels of between 20,200 and 50,900 Bq m−2 and 1100 and 3200 Bq m−2 for 137Cs and 241Am, respectively, depending upon the transect. Similar activity concentrations were measured in the pasture to the front and behind Lady Wood. Results from these studies corroborate those obtained from various studies on air pollutants including radionuclides. This underlines the importance of deposition at the edge of forests and its contribution to the overall canopy deposition. The edge effect is therefore an important factor that should be considered in the assessment of fallout impact, whether this is to be made by either direct sampling or by modelling.

radionuclides; radioactive aerosols; forest edge; deposition; wind tunnel; field study

AuthorsOuld-Dada Zitouni, Copplestone David, Toal Mark E, Shaw Graeme
Publication date12/2002
ISSN 1352-2310

Atmospheric Environment: Volume 36, Issue 36-37 (DEC 2002)

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