Near-source particulate emissions and plume dynamics from agricultural field operations

B. Holmén, D. Miller, A. Hiscox, W. Yang, J. Wang, T. Sammis, R. Bottoms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Particulate matter emissions generated by agricultural field preparation and harvesting operations were measured remotely via aerosol lidar and sampled simultaneously with a variety of aerosol point samplers in order to quantify dust plume space and time dynamics and particulate mass and number concentrations. Data for two cotton operations (disking, harvesting) in a flood-irrigated field in New Mexico are presented. Dust plume dynamics varied with boundary layer meteorological conditions, especially atmospheric stability, with plume maximum height significantly lower under stable conditions. Plume tracking indicated little change in plume area with height under unstable conditions and plume movement depended on wind speed and direction. Particle mass distributions indicate approximately 50% of the measured PM10 mass was PM2.5, significantly higher than previously reported values, possibly due to the near-source nature of the samples collected here. Variability in plume movement matched the variability in short-term wind fluctuations and this variability helps explain why models that utilize long-term averages perform poorly when trying to capture plume dynamics for nonsteady sources such as tractor operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-134
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Fugitive dust
  • Lidar
  • PM
  • PM
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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