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1 Introduction Today, in our post-Cold War world, terrorism represents the single most prominent threat to global security, economy, and social order. As expanding societal globalization has brought different cultures and ideas into closer contact and occasional conflict, technological globalization also has increased societal access to weapons of mass destruction. Terrorism, including the threatened use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent civilian populations, has been adopted as a key instrument of asymmetric conflict between groups or nations of disparate political and military standing in the world. Given the complex and often ambiguous purposes moti- vating these acts, the anticipation, preparedness, prevention, and response to terrorism is exceedingly difficult, requiring a dedicated refocusing of our national security efforts. Terrorism today spans the use of traditional methods of warfare such as conventional explosives to the emerging possibility of the use of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, and nuclear (C/B/N) agents. Particularly for these weapons of mass destruction, anticipation and assessment of the dispersal of harmful agents is a critical element of our counterterrorism preparedness and response. Airborne releases of hazardous agents have been a principal concern of communi- ties and emergency managers (Appendix D). Communities have prepared themselves to deal with accidental releases from industrial sites, energy facilities, and vehicles transporting hazardous materials. The military has been concerned with chemical and biological warfare as well as the potential for tactical nuclear weapons in the battlefield. Dispersion models are important tools for dealing with all of these issues, and observations ranging from direct visual sightings to sophisticated sensor measurements, provide essential input for these modeling systems. The workshop that is the focus of this report examined the application of such observations and dispersion models in a wide ~ The requirements of a truly comprehensive operational system go well beyond the technical modeling and observational tools discussed here. For instance, such a system requires appropriate expertise and capabilities for effective communications, data acquisition, and "user-friendly" product display. Although these factors are all vitally important, they are beyond the scope of this study. 8

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INTRODUCTION 9 variety of contexts, such as prediction of the global transport of radioactive material from the Chernobyl accident (Appendix G); dispersion of a possible hazardous agent release (Appendix E); preparatory planning for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (Appendix H); analysis of the dispersion of smoke plumes from the World Trade Center disaster (Appendix F); and air quality research and prediction. The basic components of a dispersion modeling system are illustrated in Figure 1.1. As is evident from the figure, a comprehensive model takes into account the nature of the material released, local topography, and meteorological and atmospheric data; and from this information is derived some form of risk parameters. Current available modeling systems range from the relatively simple to the highly complex (for example, a sophis- ticated model may contain its own meteorological prediction component and interactive atmospheric chemistry). In order to determine how dispersion models can be applied most effectively, it is important to identify the end users and assess their needs. In doing so, it is useful to classify emergency response activities into the phases of preparedness, response, and recovery and analysis. As discussed in the subsequent chapters of this report, for each of these phases, emergency responders have different information needs and there are different opportunities for utilizing atmospheric observations and models. .~. :::::::::: : ace ) \..) I } 3....N .... = ._ He=~e ~ ~ Su~e ~ ~ w6~ .! chara~ ~ ~ Geom elm ~ ~ -~a POW ! F~ We .q4~ ~ ~ ~ ,< i~ : l ~ PIP ~ / of Anon ~- .~ ~ , . ~ ~ do .,.,.,.! i ~ ....... , ~ ~ ~ l~ . ~ .\ it . a i' it. ................................................................................................................ '\. \ \.,.,\ ~ . . . .~........ mm . ................................................................................................................... . . ,~ .~ _ . .... ,l~ ..~ a......... i@@ :~2 ,l..,.,.,.} Health. Eny'i.~np~pen~] Enec~ ~ ~ ... ~ / ~ : /:.:2:2:2:,:,:,:,:,' '~:v222222222222~22222222222222222222222222222222. 'to i222222222. ~,l~....................................................... ,p - :,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:, ,:,:,:,:,.,"!},.,. :,.,.,. : :,.,. a: +.,:~,:,+.,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,2 : /:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:::: :,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:':: :,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:,:':':':':':':': . I" 2 2 2 2 2 2 """""22222222~2=~^P~~ ~"""""""""2 . ~ ::::::::::::::::~::~f::~:x:.~:::::::::::::::::. : a , , ,, . . . . : :.:: :.:::::::::::::::::::::: ~ ~ ~ 2 ~ 2 ~~ 2 .t / i,,,,,,,~ ~,,,~W, ~ - ............................. ., ~ ~ . ,;,,; FIGURE 1.1 Chemical, biological, and nuclear event modeling system.

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10 ATMOSPHERIC DISPERSION OF HAZARDOUS MATERIAL RELEASES Anticipating and responding to terrorist attacks is extremely challenging because the possible scenarios of timing, location, and method of attack essentially are infinite. In many cases, the exact source location may not be known initially (e.g., it could be an instantaneous release or be distributed temporally and geographically; the source could be ground-based or airborne), and the nature of the substance released may also be unknown initially. Thus, dispersion tracking and forecasting systems must be capable of providing useful information even in the absence of some basic input information. il Much can be done with existing resources to strengthen observational and model- ng capabilities for tracking hazardous releases, such as better use of existing local observational networks and better exploitation of existing models. However, additional resources likely will be required by many communities for the development and imple- mentation of improved observing systems and higher-resolution models. Because the terrorist threat probability is small, many communities might find it difficult to justify the investments needed. However, as discussed in this report, robust observing systems and high-resolution atmospheric modeling systems can support many other important func- tions such as local weather warnings, air quality forecasting, and transportation system management. The combined benefits thus are likely to justify the investments. These issues are discussed in greater depth in the following chapters. Chapter 2 examines the information needs of emergency responders in the preparedness, response, and recovery and analysis phases of a hazardous release. Chapter 3 examines the role of atmospheric observations in tracking and predicting the dispersion of hazardous agents, including an assessment of our current observational capabilities and needs for improve- ment. Chapter 4 contains an overview of the capabilities and limitations of the various types of dispersion models in use today. In each chapter the committee identifies a number of priority findings and recommendations that emerged from discussions among the workshop participants.