New Brunswick/Piscataway, N.J. The environmental and health consequences of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have been the subject of controversy almost from the beginning. Scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have created a computerized model that will help public health officials understand the degree of harmful exposure in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
Georgiy Stenchikov of Rutgers, and Paul Lioy, Nilesh Lahoti, and Panos Georgopoulos of the Environmental, Occupational and Health Sciences Institute, a joint institute of Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and David J. Diner and Ralph Kahn of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory are the authors of a paper in the July issue of the journal Environmental Fluid Mechanics. Stenchikov's scientific interests span from convective storm and local air pollution modeling to the large-scale climate impacts of volcanic eruptions and global warming. Lioy, Lahoti and Georgopoulos have interests that include complex source to dose modeling. Diner and Kahn are leading scientists on the NASA Earth Observing System's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument, a key source of satellite data used in the study (http://www-misr.jpl.nasa.gov).
The paper describes the dispersion of the plume of aerosols tiny particles suspended in air -- from the World Trade Center disaster, and provides a way to evaluate the human exposure to that plume. Aerosols were injected into the urban atmosphere by the collapse of the WTC main structures and by the fires at Ground Zero, forming a plume of smoke and fine particulate matter. It rose 1.25 kilometers into the sky, and blew over lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens shifting direction with the wind, so people in New Jersey and Northern Manhattan also smelled the plume until rain on Sept. 14 damped it down. Anyone who
Contact: Ken Branson
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey