A&M Professor Creates Website Monitoring Air Paths of Japanese Nuclear Plants

A website designed by a Texas A&M University atmospheric sciences professor can provide a daily projection of the likely routes for air affected by Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant and how they might impact the United States.

Ken Bowman, head of atmospheric sciences in Texas A&M’s College of Geosciences and an expert on atmospheric modeling, created the website this week, along with graduate student Cameron Homeyer.

The computerized models show predicted paths that air passing over the power plant’s four damaged reactors is likely to follow once it has left Japan’s coast.

“Today’s model shows the air current moving away from Japan and taking a curve to the southwest,” Bowman explains.

“But the projections for Friday show a different story. The likely path of the air is toward the coast of Alaska and northwest Canada. The short-term projections for these models, those within four days or so, are pretty accurate. But anything beyond that time frame is increasingly uncertain due to fundamental limitations in weather forecast models.

“Our models cannot show how much radiation there might be in the air, only the likely path that the air currents will take,” adds the Texas A&M professor.

The site can be viewed by clicking here

Bowman says the maps are updated daily, using information provided by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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