Page 1 - Atmospheric transport
modelling and data fusion

Atmospheric transport modelling

Co-locating radionuclide detections with waveform events through atmospheric transport modelling (ATM) is one way of performing data fusion. Since the radionuclide technology does not provide any information on the probable location of an event, ATM is used to obtain this information.

Based on high-quality global meteorological data and using ATM, it is possible to trace the various three-dimensional travel paths of any selected radionuclide from any station where it was measured back to the area where it may have originated. This process is called source region attribution.  The aim is to obtain the best possible estimation for the source area, i.e. to identify an area as the release area that would best match the observations.

ATM can backtrack the movement of radionuclides from the point of detection to identify a possible release area or predict the travel path of radionculides based on a known emission location.

The backtracking method is most suitable when there is no advance knowledge of a possible release location. If it is known, however, the processing can be turned around. This means that ATM can provide forward calculations and predict where emitted radionuclides may be transported to, using meteorological data. This was the case when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea announced its nuclear test in October 2006. The predicted results of the forward ATM calculations closely resembled the levels and timing of radioactive xenon detected at a radionuclide monitoring station in Canada.