A numerical simulation of global transport of atmospheric particles emitted from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Toshihiko Takemura, Hisashi Nakamura, Masayuki Takigawa, Hiroaki Kondo, Takehiko Satomura, Takafumi Miyasaka, Teruyuki Nakajima

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    80 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The powerful tsunami generated by the massive earthquake that occurred east of Japan on March 11, 2011 caused serious damages of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on its cooling facilities for nuclear reactors. Hydrogen and vapor blasts that occurred until March 15 outside of the reactors led to the emission of radioactive materials into the air. Here we show a numerical simulation for the long-range transport from the plant to the U.S. and even Europe with a global aerosol transport model SPRINTARS. Large-scale updraft organized by a low-pressure system traveling across Japan from March 14 to 15 was found effective in lifting the particles from the surface layer to the level of a westerly jet stream that could carry the particles across the Pacific within 3 to 4 days. Their simulated concentration rapidly decreases to the order of 10-8 of its initial level, consistent with the level detected in California on March 18. The simulation also reproduces the subsequent trans-Atlantic transport of those particles by a poleward-deflected jet stream, first toward Iceland and then southward to continental Europe as actually observed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-104
    Number of pages4
    JournalScientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere
    Volume7
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Atmospheric Science

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