oversight

Gulf War Illnesses: Preliminary Assessment of DOD Plume Modeling for U.S. Troops' Exposure to Chemical Agents

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-06-02.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                            United States General Accounting Office

GAO                         Testimony
                            Before the House Subcommittee on
                            National Security, Emerging Threats, and
                            International Relations, Committee on
                            Government Reform
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 1:00 p.m. EDT
Monday, June 2, 2003        GULF WAR ILLNESSES
                            Preliminary Assessment of
                            DOD Plume Modeling for
                            U.S. Troops’ Exposure to
                            Chemical Agents
                            Statement of Keith Rhodes, Chief Technologist
                            Center for Technology and Engineering, Applied Research
                              and Methods




GAO-03-833T
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                                                June 2, 2003


                                                GULF WAR ILLNESSES

                                                PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT OF DOD
Highlights of GAO-03-833T, a testimony
                                                PLUME MODELING FOR U.S. TROOPS’
before the House Subcommittee on
National Security, Emerging Threats, and
                                                EXPOSURE TO CHEMICAL AGENTS
International Relations, Committee on
Government Reform




Of the approximately 700,000                    DOD’s conclusion as to the extent of U.S. troops’ exposure is highly
veterans of the Persian Gulf War,               questionable because DOD and CIA plume modeling results are not
many have undiagnosed illnesses.                reliable. In general, modeling is never precise enough to draw definitive
The Department of Defense (DOD)
and the Central Intelligence Agency
                                                conclusions, and DOD did not have accurate information on source term
(CIA) have concluded, using                     (such as the quantity and purity—concentration—of the agent) and
computer plume modeling, that no                meteorological conditions (such as the wind and weather patterns),
U.S. troops were exposed to                     essential to valid modeling. In particular, the models DOD selected were
hazardous substances because                    not fully developed and validated for long-range environmental fallout;
plumes—clouds of chemical                       the source term assumptions were not accurate; the plume height was
warfare agents—could not have                   underestimated; the modeling only considered the effects on health of a
reached the troops. GAO was asked
                                                single bombing; field-testing at Dugway Proving Ground did not
to assess DOD and CIA plume
modeling to determine whether                   realistically simulate the actual bombing conditions; and divergence in
DOD’s conclusions could be                      results among models.
supported. GAO’s final assessment
will be reported at a later date.               DOD’s conclusion, based on the findings of epidemiological studies--that
                                                there was no significant difference between rates of illness for exposed
                                                versus not exposed troops--is not valid. In the epidemiological studies,
                                                the results of DOD’s flawed modeling served as a key criterion for
                                                determining the exposure classification—exposed versus not exposed to
                                                chemical agents—of the troops. Such misclassification is a serious
                                                problem that can have two types of effects: First, if misclassification
                                                affects both comparison groups equally (nondifferential classification--
                                                equally in the exposed and unexposed groups), it may water down the
                                                results so that important associations are missed. Second, if
                                                misclassification affects one group more than the other (differential
                                                misclassification), it may introduce bias that obscures important
                                                associations or creates false associations. Consequently, the
                                                misclassification in the studies resulted in confounding—that is,
                                                distorting—the results, making the conclusion invalid.




www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-833T.

To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Keith Rhodes
at (202) 512-6412 or rhodesk@gao.gov.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

We are pleased to be here today to present our preliminary assessment of
the plume modeling conducted by DOD and CIA to determine the number
of U.S. troops that might have been exposed to the release of chemical
warfare agents during the Gulf War in 1990. We will report the final results
of this study at a later date.

As you know, many of the approximately 700,000 veterans of the Persian
Gulf War have undiagnosed illnesses since the war’s end in 1991. Some
fear they are suffering from chronic disabling conditions because of
wartime exposures to vaccines, as well as chemical warfare agents,
pesticides, and other hazardous substances with known or suspected
adverse health effects. Available bomb damage assessments during the
war showed that of the 21 sites bombed in Iraq—categorized by
intelligence agencies as nuclear, biological, or chemical facilities—16 had
been destroyed by bombing. Some of these sites were near the areas
where U.S. troops were located.

When the issue of the possible exposure of troops to low levels of
chemical warfare agents was first raised, during the summer of 1993, the
Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
concluded that no U.S. troops were exposed because (1) there were no
forward-deployed chemical warfare agent munitions and (2) plumes—
clouds of chemical warfare agents—from the bombing that destroyed the
chemical facilities could not have reached the troops.

This position was maintained until 1996, when it became known that U.S.
troops destroyed a stockpile of chemical munitions after the Gulf War in
1991, at a forward-deployed site, Khamisiyah, in Iraq. Consequently, DOD
and the CIA made several modeling efforts to estimate the number of
troops that might have been potentially exposed to chemical warfare
agents. But recognizing that actual data on the source term—such as the
quantity and the purity (concentration) of the agent—and meteorological
conditions—such as the wind and the weather patterns—were not
available,1 DOD and CIA conducted field-testing and modeling of bombing


1
  Observations were few because Iraq stopped reporting weather station measurement
information to the World Meteorological Organization in 1981. As a result, data on the
meteorological conditions during the Gulf War were sparse. The only data that were
available were for the surface wind observation site, 80 to 90 kilometers away, and the
upper atmospheric site, about 200 kilometers away.



Page 1                                                                       GAO-03-833T
          sites at Khamisiyah, in 1996 and 1997, to determine the size and path of the
          plume, as well as the number of U.S. troops exposed to the plume. During
          these initial modeling efforts, DOD asked the Department of Energy’s
          Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) to also conduct
          modeling. In 1997, DOD and CIA also combined a number of their own
          individual modeling efforts into a composite and conducted additional
          plume modeling of the bombing sites at Al Muthanna, Muhammadiyat, and
          Ukhaydir. Subsequently, in 2000, DOD revised its modeling of Khamisiyah.

          In our testimony today, at your request, my remarks will focus on our
          preliminary findings of DOD and CIA plume modeling during the Gulf War.
          Specifically, I will address the validity of the following DOD conclusions:

          •   based on DOD plume modeling efforts, that the extent to which U.S.
              troops were exposed was minimal and

          •   based on findings of government-funded epidemiological studies, that
              there was no significant difference as to the rate of illness between
              troops that were exposed to chemical warfare agents versus those not
              exposed.

          Our work thus far has involved interviews with agency officials and
          experts in this area, reviews of relevant documents and literature, and a
          review of DOD’s methodology and analyses of plume modeling. Our work
          has been performed in accordance with generally accepted government
          auditing standards.


          DOD’s conclusion as to the extent of U.S. troops’ exposure—based on
Summary   DOD and CIA plume modeling—is highly questionable because the results
          of the modeling are unreliable. In general, modeling is never precise
          enough to draw definitive conclusions, and DOD did not have accurate
          information on source term and meteorological conditions.

          We have several reasons for this assessment: First, DOD selected models
          that were not fully developed and validated for modeling long-range
          environmental fallout. Second, some of the assumptions regarding the
          source term data used in the modeling were not accurate—based on
          incomplete information, data that were not validated, and testing that did
          not realistically simulate the actual conditions at Khamisiyah. For
          example, the CIA calculated the agent purity in 1991 to be 50 percent at
          Khamisiyah, but 18 percent at Al Muthanna and about 15 percent at
          Muhammadiyat. The CIA did not independently validate or establish agent


          Page 2                                                          GAO-03-833T
purity levels based on empirically driven analyses, and relied on UNSCOM
reporting for these rates. This assessment of the agent purity rate at Al
Muthanna was questioned by a DOD official. We plan to examine the
validity of the methodology used to calculated the rate of degradation.

Third, the plume height was underestimated, which resulted in discounting
the impact of certain meteorological conditions, such as high-speed winds
at nighttime, when many of the bombings occurred. This would have a
dramatic effect on the distance the chemical agent traveled. Moreover,
according to an internal DOD memo, plume height in one case at Al
Muthanna was arbitrarily determined by a DOD official to be 10 meters. At
Muhammadiyat and Ukhaydir, plume heights were estimated to be the
height of the munition or the munition stack. However, independent field-
testing demonstrated that a single 1,000-pound bomb would create plume
height in excess of 400 meters above the ground. Fourth, DOD, in its
modeling, only considered the effect of a single bombing of the sites on
the health of the U.S. troops. But DOD did not take into account the
cumulative effects of repeated bombings of the sites on troops’ health.
Fifth, post-war field-testing done at Dugway Proving Ground, to estimate
the source term data and plume height, did not realistically simulate the
actual conditions of bombings at any of the sites. The simulation occurred
under conditions that were not comparable to those that existed at
Khamisiyah. For example, there were differing seasonal and
meteorological conditions, differences in rocket construction, and lesser
quantities of rockets. These differences result in multi-variable uncertainty
that cannot be resolved. Finally, there was a great divergence among the
various models DOD selected with regard to the size and path of the plume
and the extent to which troops were exposed. Combining the results of
various models masked the highly divergent predictions among the
individual models regarding the size and path of the plume. The results of
LLNL model which showed the largest area of coverage were disregarded
and not included in the composite model.

DOD’s conclusion that there were no significant differences in the rate of
illness between exposed and non-exposed troops is questionnable. DOD
based this conclusion on the findings of epidemiological studies, in which
DOD modeling was flawed. In addition, the modeling results served as a
key criterion for classifying troops that were ill and had been exposed
compared with troops that were ill and determined not to have been
exposed. However, the troops classified as non-exposed might have been
exposed. Such misclassification is a serious problem that can have two
types of effects. First, if misclassification affects both comparison groups
equally (non-differential classification—equally in the exposed and

Page 3                                                           GAO-03-833T
             unexposed groups), it may water down the results so that important
             associations are missed. Second, if misclassification affects one group
             more than the other (differential misclassification), it may introduce bias
             that obscures important associations or creates false associations.
             Consequently, the misclassification in the studies resulted in
             confounding—that is, distorting—the results.


             In March 1991, after the conclusion of the Gulf War, U.S. Army demolition
Background   units destroyed munitions at the Khamisiyah storage site—which included
             a bunker and an open pit—in southeastern Iraq. Later, through inspections
             conducted by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in Iraq,
             it was discovered that hundreds of 122-millimeter rockets destroyed at
             Khamisiyah contained the nerve agents sarin and cyclosarin. U.S. and
             coalition forces also bombed many other known or suspected Iraqi
             chemical warfare research, materiel, storage, and production sites.
             According to DOD and the CIA, coalition air strikes resulted in damage to
             filled chemical munitions at only two facilities in central Iraq, Al Muthanna
             bunker 2 and Muhammadiyat, and at the Ukhaydir ammunition storage
             depot in southern Iraq. At Muhammadiyat, munitions containing an
             estimated 2.9 metric tons of sarin and cyclosarin and 15 metric tons of the
             chemical agent mustard were damaged during the air strikes. At Al
             Muthanna, munitions containing an estimated 17 metric tons of sarin and
             cyclosarin were damaged during the air strikes.

             According to DOD, the U.S. Government did not immediately make the
             connection between the chemical munitions found by UNSCOM at
             Khamisiyah and U.S. demolition bombings there. However, in 1996,
             concerns raised by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War
             Illnesses prompted the CIA to examine this issue.2 The CIA contracted
             with the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to conduct
             the initial analysis and modeling of the bombing of chemical munitions in
             Khamisiyah bunker 73. The CIA’s first report, published in August 1996,
             modeled the potential release of agents from bunker 73. The CIA and DOD
             jointly published a second report in September 1997. In this report, they
             combined the results of five different dispersions (for example, the size
             and path of the plume) and meteorological models to determine the extent
             of the plume from bombing of chemical munitions in Khamisiyah. In 2000,



             2
              The Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses was a panel
             established in August 1995 to provide oversight to Gulf War illnesses investigations.



             Page 4                                                                        GAO-03-833T
                          DOD published the results of a new modeling of the Khamisiyah site, using
                          updated CIA source assessments and revising the hazard area.

Information Needed for    In chemical plume modeling, simulations are produced that recreate or
Modeling the Effects of   predict the size and path of the plume, including the potential hazard area,
Chemical Warfare Agents   and the potential effect on the health of the exposed population. Modeling
                          requires accurate information on

                          •   source term characteristics, properties (for example, vapor pressure,
                              flash point, size of particles, persistency, and toxicity information), and
                              rate of the agent release;

                          •   temporal characteristics of the period of release (for example, whether
                              the initial release of chemical agent occurred during daylight hours
                              when it might rapidly disperse into the surface air or at night when
                              differing dispersion patterns would exist depending on terrain and the
                              height of the release);

                          •   accurate collection of data that drive the meteorological models, such
                              as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, dew point, wind
                              velocity and direction at varying altitudes, and other related
                              measurements of weather conditions during the modeled period;

                          •   data from global weather models to simulate large-scale weather
                              patterns and from regional and localized weather models to simulate
                              the weather in the area of the chemical agent release and throughout
                              the area of dispersion; and

                          •   information regarding the location of potentially exposed populations,
                              animals, crops or other assets that may be affected by releases of the
                              agent.

Types of Models Used      The modeling of various chemical agent releases during the 1991 Persian
                          Gulf War included global-scale models, such as the National Centers for
                          Environmental Prediction Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) and
                          the Naval Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS).
                          Regional and local weather models used included the Coupled Ocean-
                          Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS), the Operational
                          Multiscale Environment Model with Grid Adaptivity (OMEGA), and the
                          Mesoscale Model Version 5 (MM5).

                          Transport and diffusion models (often simply called dispersion models)
                          were also used. They project both the path of the chemical agents after


                          Page 5                                                             GAO-03-833T
                                release and the degree of hazard posed by the agents. For example, the
                                modeling of various releases during the 1991 Gulf War included dispersion
                                models, such as the Second-order Closure Integrated Puff (SCIPUFF)
                                model along with its Hazard Prediction and Assessment Capability (HPAC)
                                component; the Vapor, Liquid, and Solid Tracking (VLSTRACK) model; the
                                Non-Uniform Simple Surface Evaporation Model (NUSSE); and the
                                Atmospheric Dispersion by Particle-in-Cell (ADPIC) model.


DOD’s Conclusions               DOD’s conclusion as to the extent of U.S. troops’ exposure—based on
Regarding the Extent of         DOD and CIA plume modeling—is highly questionable because the results
Exposure of U.S. Troops         of the modeling are unreliable. The modeling conducted was not precise
                                enough to draw definitive conclusions regarding the size and path of the
Are Highly Questionable         plume. We found six reasons to question the conclusions: First, the models
                                selected were not fully developed and validated. Second, the assumptions
                                regarding the source term used in the modeling were not accurate. Third,
                                the plume height was underestimated. Fourth, DOD modeling only
                                considered the effects of a single bomb on health. Fifth, post-war field
                                testing done at Dugway Proving Ground did not realistically simulate the
                                actual conditions of bombing at any site. And, finally, there was a great
                                divergence among the various models DOD selected with regard to the
                                size and path of the plume.

The Models Selected Were Not    DOD and CIA officials selected in-house models for use in plume modeling
Fully Developed and Validated   (see appendix 1). In the case of Khamisiyah and other sites, DOD
                                models—such as the VLSTRACK and HPAC/SCIPUFF dispersion models—
                                were not fully developed and validated for environmental fallout at the
                                time of their selection. In particular, these models were not appropriate
                                for long-range tracking of chemical agents.

                                VLSTRACK was developed primarily as a tactical decision aid for
                                predicting hazards resulting from the release of chemical and biological
                                agents in a military environment. Modeling experts at the Naval Surface
                                Center told us that the two-month DOD panel reanalysis and modeling was
                                a developmental effort because existing models did not have the capability
                                to perform the required projections. Considerations of potential illness
                                from low-level exposure to chemical agents resulting from nerve and
                                blister agents accidentally released in Iraq required extensive extensions
                                and modifications to some of the methodology in VLSTRACK.

                                HPAC was developed jointly by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the
                                then Defense Special Weapons Agency (now known as DTRA) and was
                                specifically tailored to do counterproliferation contingency planning. In a

                                Page 6                                                          GAO-03-833T
                              1998 scientific review and evaluation of SCIPUFF, which is an integral part
                              of HPAC, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s
                              (NOAA’s) Air Resources Laboratory stated that SCIPUFF is probably
                              better suited for short-range (about 10 kilometers) dispersion applications
                              rather than for long-range transport modeling. Among the limitations
                              cautioned regarding the use of the HPAC model are that does not provide
                              a definitive answer due to uncertainties about transport, location, and
                              weather.

                              In addition, based on the DOD modeling effort, it is evident that a group
                              using the VLSTRACK model might receive a significantly different
                              prediction from that of a group using the HPAC model. And neither of
                              these models has sufficient fidelity—that is, reliability—to permit the
                              conclusion that the actual hazard area—that is, path of the plume—is
                              confined to the predicted hazard area. In a September 1998 memo, the
                              Deputy to the Secretary of Defense for Counterproliferation and
                              Chemical/Biological Defense cited a DOD panel study team, which found
                              that the VLSTRACK and HPAC models generate hazard predictions that
                              are significantly different from each other. The memo noted, “This
                              occurred even when the source terms and weather inputs are as simple
                              and as identical as possible. In operational deployment, the average model
                              user could obtain different answers for the same threat.”

                              With regard to meteorological models, according to a 1997 memo from the
                              Director of NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory to DOD, the selection of
                              models was dominated by in-house, that is, DOD, models that were not
                              well known outside of DOD. The Director noted that there were three
                              mainstream mesoscale models available and well accepted for deriving
                              site-specific flow conditions from large-scale meteorological information:
                              MM5, RAMS, and Eta. At that time, OMEGA and COAMPS were too new
                              and not well accepted outside of DOD circles. OMEGA was still under
                              development, and a Peer Review Panel on the 1997 Khamisiyah modeling
                              reported that there were major problems with the OMEGA model. For
                              example, there were physically impossible aspects to the OMEGA model
                              solutions and major errors in its simulations. For the analysis done for
                              Khamisiyah and Al Muthanna, a DOD technical review panel found that
                              OMEGA consistently under-predicted surface wind speeds by a factor of 2
                              to 3 when compared with actual observations collected at five World
                              Meteorological stations in the area.

The Source Term Assumptions   There were significant uncertainties in the source term used in the plume
Were Not Accurate             modeling at Khamisiyah. DOD and the CIA made assumptions about the
                              source term based on field-testing, intelligence information, imagery,

                              Page 7                                                         GAO-03-833T
UNSCOM inspections, and Iraqi declarations to UNSCOM. However, these
assumptions were based on incomplete information, data that were not
validated, and testing that did not realistically simulate the actual
conditions at Khamisiyah.

In its initial modeling of the demolition of chemical munitions at
Khamisiyah, the CIA did not have accurate and precise information as to
how rockets with chemical warheads would be affected by open pit
demolition, compared with bunker demolition. This lack of information
included the number of rockets, agent purity, and amount of agent
released in the atmosphere, agent reaction in an open-pit demolition, and
prevailing meteorological conditions. A DOD panel also found a lack of
information,3 that is, substantial uncertainties regarding the number of
damaged rockets that might have released chemical agents and how fast
the nerve agents—sarin and cyclosarin, which were mixed together in the
rockets—were released. Some of these agents may have leaked from
rockets into the soil or into the wood of the boxes that contained the
rockets and evaporated over time. The panel also found that the CIA and
SAIC analyses used what were essentially guesses for the lack of data. For
example, the numbers of rockets were based on what was known to be
there before the demolition and what was found by the UNSCOM during
their inspections, but, according to a DOD panel, the numbers varied by a
factor of 5 or 6.

In addition, this panel recognized that meteorological data were limited
because there were relatively few observations, and these were made far
from the Khamisiyah site. Observations were few because Iraq stopped
reporting weather station measurement information to the World
Meteorological Organization in 1981. As a result, data on the
meteorological conditions during the Gulf War were sparse. The only data
that were available were for the surface wind observation site, 80 to 90
kilometers away, and the upper atmospheric site, about 200 kilometers
away. The panel also recognized that wind patterns could contain areas of
bifurcation—lines where winds move in one direction on one side and in
another direction on another side—which also move over time and are
different at different altitudes.




3
 DOD had asked the Institute of Defense Analyses to set up a DOD-funded panel to review
the modeling.



Page 8                                                                    GAO-03-833T
Source term assumptions on agents (sarin and cyclosarin) purity
established for the four sites—Khamisiyah, as well as Al Muthanna,
Muhammadiyat, and Ukhaydir—differed widely. Discrepancies between
the Khamisiyah purity data and the Al Muthanna and Muhammadiyat data
were not adequately resolved. The agents were assumed to be purer in
February 1991 at Al Muthanna than in January at Muhammadiyat and
purer still in March at Khamisiyah. In each case, agent purity was a key
factor in the DOD and CIA methodology for determining the amount of
agents released. Since the purity of the sarin and cyclosarin was used as a
factor in calculating the amount of agents released, purity is critical in
compounding the uncertainty of the modeling. For example, for modeling
purposes, 10 tons of agent with a purity of 18 percent would be
represented as only 1.8 tons of agent. The CIA did not independently
validate or establish agent purity levels based on empirically driven
analyses, and relied on UNSCOM reporting for these rates. This
assessment of the agent purity rate at Al Muthanna was questioned by a
DOD official, who noted in a memo, “Why we use the 18 percent purity
instead of the 50 percent number available in public sources, and why we
treat GF like GB when there are documents that mention the higher
toxicity are not easily deferred with ‘because the CIA says so.’ I think the
GF vs. GB numbers accepted by the EPA or CDC or whatever is the
competent authority, but the purity number is problematic.” We plan to
examine the validity of the methodology used to calculated the rate of
degradation.

In addition, according to Iraqi production records obtained by UNSCOM,
the agent purity at Khamisiyah, in early January 1991, was about 55
percent. The agent subsequently degraded to 10-percent purity by the time
laboratory analysis had been completed on samples taken by UNSCOM
from one of the rockets in October 1991. On the basis of the sample purity
and indications that the degradation rate for sarin and cyclosarin are
similar, the CIA assessed that the ratio of sarin to cyclosarin when the
munitions were blown up in March 1991 was the same as that sampled in
October 1991—3:1. According to the CIA, assuming a conservative
exponential degradation of the sarin and cyclosarin, the purity on the date
of demolition, 2 months after production, was calculated to be about 50
percent.

At Al Muthanna, however, where the agent was stored in a bunker, the CIA
estimated the chemical warfare agent had deteriorated to approximately
18 percent purity by the time that bunker 2 was destroyed, in early
February 1991, leaving about 1600 kilograms (1.6 metric tons) of viable
sarin. The CIA based its estimate on UNSCOM’s analysis of Iraqi purity

Page 9                                                           GAO-03-833T
                       data and supporting information, which stated that the munitions were
                       filled with the agent in 1988 and that the maximum purity for the 1988
                       agent was 18 percent in 1991. However, this assumption suggests
                       knowledge of exact production dates and storage conditions that were not
                       established. But UNSCOM and intelligence community reporting about the
                       near-wartime capabilities of Iraq suggests that while the sarin produced
                       was of poor quality, it had a maximum purity of 60 per cent.

                       According to CIA documents, the total amount of agent modeled to have
                       been released at Al Muthanna was 1 kg, but, to be conservative, the
                       amount released was assumed to be 10 kg. The reasoning given for the low
                       amounts discharged was the heat of the explosion. The CIA assessed that
                       far less agent would have been released in the Al Muthanna bunker
                       because, based on U.S. field-testing using simulated bunkers, heat would
                       build up rapidly in Iraqi bunkers made of thick reinforced concrete ceiling
                       and walls, thereby destroying most of the agent. However, these bumkers
                       were targeted using high explosives, such as Tomahawk missiles and
                       laser-guided and non-guided bombs, that detonate and produce
                       instantaneous and extreme blast forces and shock and pressure waves, as
                       well as heat. While the CIA analysts gave great credibility to the heat, no
                       consideration was given to either the blast effects of the munitions or to
                       the higher altitude plumes generated with the types of munitions used.

                       For Muhammadiyat, DOD also provided details regarding how they
                       derived source term characterizations for agent released using test data
                       from Dugway Proving Grounds. However, the types of munitions used in
                       the testing and, therefore, the resulting effects are not comparable to what
                       munitions were actually used and their effects. At Dugway Proving
                       Grounds, small explosive charges were placed on boxed rockets; at
                       Muhammadiyat, the munitions were targeted using multiple high-explosive
                       bombs. Agent purity at Muhammadiyat was estimated at 15 percent.

The Plume Height Was   Plume heights from the explosions could be significantly higher than the
Underestimated         plume height assumptions provided for in the modeling of Khamisiyah and
                       other Iraqi chemical warfare sites. The plume height data the CIA provided
                       for the demolitions at the Khamisiyah pit was 0-100 meters. However,
                       neither the DOD nor the CIA conducted testing to establish plume heights
                       associated with the bombings of Al Muthanna, Muhammadiyat, or
                       Ukhaydir. DOD modelers involved with the modeling efforts told us that
                       they did not calculate the plume height or any of the other heat or blast
                       effects associated with the bombings of these sites because DOD had
                       provided the modelers these data. A modeling expert from the Defense
                       Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) told us that DOD data on plume height

                       Page 10                                                         GAO-03-833T
was inconsistent with other test data for the types of facilities bombed.
The modeling expert cited test studies conducted at White Sands Proving
Grounds in New Mexico, which demonstrated plume heights would range
from 300 to 400 meters in height.

Modeling experts from LLNL who participated only in the initial modeling
at Khamisiyah also told us, citing studies, that they questioned how the
plume height was estimated. In a pre-war analysis, LLNL projected that the
smoke source cloud, immediately following the bombing of Iraqi chemical
warfare agent facilities, would be characterized by a surface-based plume
with a 54 meter (177 ft.) horizontal radius and a height of 493 meters (1,617
ft.). A Sandia Laboratory empirical study, performed in 1969, established a
power law formula for calculating plume heights attributable to high-
explosive detonations (see appendix II). Using this formula, an MK-84 or
GBU-24 (942.6lb. of high explosives) bomb would generate a plume of 421
meters.

DOD applied the same assumptions about the height of the plume at
Khamisiyah to model other possible chemical releases at the Al Muthanna,
Muhammadiyat, and Ukhaydir sites. At Muhammadiyat, for example, DOD
established a release height of 0.5 meters (roughly half the bomb height)
for nerve agent and a release height of 1.0 meters (roughly half of the
median height of the various bomb stacks) for blister (mustard) agent
destroyed at this location. Moreover, according to an internal DOD memo,
an initial cloud size of 10 meters in both lateral and vertical directions was
“arbitrarily” established. No efforts were made by DOD to validate these
estimates by analyzing video images that were available showing some of
the plume data, particularly those taken from ground level at Khamisiyah,
were used to project the characteristics of the actual plumes.

As illustrated by figure 1, disparity in plume height source data could
result in vastly differing projections regarding how far the plume travels
and disperses, particularly during nighttime periods when a stable
(nocturnal) boundary layer emerges.




Page 11                                                           GAO-03-833T
Figure 1 Boundary Layer Characteristics


 2000      Height (Meters)
                                                                    Free Atmosphere




                                        Entrainment Zone           Capping Inversion
             Cloud Layer
                                                                                                        Entrainment Zone


 1000

                                                                    Residual Layer
                Convective                                                                                                        Mixed
                Mixed Layer                                                                                                       Layer



                                                          Stable (Nocturnal) Boundary Layer

               Surface Layer                                       Surface Layer                                           Surface Layer
   0
    Noon                                Sunset                       Midnight                        Sunrise                               Noon

                               S1                S2                                             S3                    S4    S5     S6
                                                                   Local Time

 Source: Roland B. Stull, An Introduction to Boundary Layer Meteorology, (Boston, MA: Klumer Academic Publishers, 1988), p. 11.



                                                        As also shown in figure 1, above the surface layer, in the stable boundary
                                                        layer, the winds often accelerate to higher speeds, in a phenomenon that is
                                                        called the low-level or nocturnal jet. At altitudes on the order of 200
                                                        meters above the ground, winds may reach 10-30 meters per second (22-
                                                        67.5 miles per hour) in the nocturnal jet. Higher plumes than those
                                                        postulated by DOD, coupled with this phenomenon, could result in the
                                                        rapid transport of chemical agents until disturbed by turbulence or the
                                                        return of the mixed layer sometime after dawn. However, this possibility
                                                        was not taken into consideration in any of the modeling performed.
                                                        Consequently, the modeling may have resulted in underestimating the
                                                        extent of plume coverage. (For a detailed discussion of this issue, see
                                                        appendix II.)

                                                        In addition, plume geometry associated with high-explosive discharges
                                                        shows that the majority of the mass of the plume is located toward the
                                                        higher altitudes, suggesting that the majority of the mass of the plume
                                                        would move to higher altitues where they might be transported by these
                                                        higher speed winds (see appendix III).

DOD Modeling Only                                       Iraqi chemical warfare facilities were bombed on several occasions, but
Considered the Effects of a                             DOD and CIA modeling did not reflect the cumulative effects of these
Single Bombing on Health                                repeated bombings on the amounts of agents released and on the health of


                                                        Page 12                                                                                   GAO-03-833T
                               troops. For example, there were 17 distinct coalition air strikes on the
                               Muhammadiyat ammunition storage depot. While modeling was requested
                               for the duration of 72 hours after the chemical release for Khamisiyah,
                               DOD used only a 24-hour duration for its modeling of the bombing of
                               Muhammadiyat. This was because at this site, unlike at others, DOD made
                               the assumption that all of the nerve agent was released at one time and
                               therefore modeled each air strike as if it was the only strike that caused a
                               release. According to DOD, each model produced a freeze frame of the
                               largest hazard area. The hazard area grows until it reaches its maximum
                               size, which the modeling suggests is about 10-12 hours after the release.

Dugway Field-testing Did Not   DOD and the CIA also conducted post-war field-testing at Dugway Proving
Realistically Simulate the     Ground to simulate the actual bombing conditions at Khamisiyah to derive
Actual Bombing Conditions      the source term data for use in modeling. From May 1997 through
                               November 1999, the testing center at Dugway Proving Ground conducted
                               seven field-testings and two laboratory studies to obtain source term data
                               for use in DOD and CIA modeling of Khamisiyah. For testing and
                               simulation to be effective, the conditions have to be as close to the actual
                               event as possible. However, the testing did not realistically simulate the
                               conditions that existed during the demolition of 122-mm chemical-filled
                               rockets in Khamisiyah and is therefore of questionable usefulness in
                               providing inputs data for the modeling. The simulations took place under
                               conditions that were not comparable to those that existed at Khamisiyah.
                               During the field-testing, there were differences in seasonal and
                               meteorological conditions; in munition crate construction material; in
                               rocket construction, including the use of concrete-filled pipes as rocket
                               replacements to provide (inert) filler to simulate larger stacks; the fewer
                               numbers of rockets (and therefore explosives) in the simulations, which
                               may have suppressed a potential chain reaction of explosions; the use of
                               agent simulant (rather than real agent); and soil. These differences result
                               in multi-variable uncertainty that cannot be resolved.

                               For example, the Dugway testing used a small sample of 32 rockets with
                               simulant-filled warheads to conduct seven field-testings: five were single-
                               rocket demolitions and two involved multiple-rocket demolitions. One
                               multiple-rocket trial demolition used nine functional rockets plus three
                               dummy rockets, while the other multiple-rocket trial used 19 functional
                               rockets and five dummy rockets. In contrast, at the Khamisiyah pit, stacks
                               of 122 mm rockets, estimated to total about 1,250 rockets, were detonated.
                               Moreover, Dugway testing officials did not know whether the 122 mm
                               rockets used during the field-testings were the same as those at the
                               Khamisiyah pit. Dugway officials acknowledged that exploding a larger
                               number of rockets would make a significant difference on the testing, and

                               Page 13                                                         GAO-03-833T
                              aerial bombing with a heavy load would have a far greater effect than was
                              the case with the Dugway testing.

                              According to DOD and CIA analysts, the type of soil and wood can have a
                              significant effect on the dispersion of the agent. However, a Dugway
                              testing official told us that evaporation characteristics from the trials and
                              models were uncertain. DOD and CIA estimates of the evaporation and
                              retention rates of the chemical agent spilled on the soil may not be similar
                              to what was actually evaporated from and retained in the pit sand at
                              Khamisiyah. This is because while Iraqi soil was available and used in the
                              laboratory testing, it was not used during the field-testing. Similarly, DOD
                              and the CIA estimates of the amount of spilled agent that evaporated from
                              and was retained in wooden crates are suspect because Dugway testing
                              officials could not obtain actual wood from the Khamisiyah pit site for
                              testing. The aged and possibly damp wood at Khamisiyah would absorb
                              less agent than the new wood used at Dugway. DOD and CIA determined
                              that only about 32 percent of the agent was released and that most leaked
                              into the soil and wood with 18 percent of the leakage becoming part of the
                              plume (2 percent through aerosolization and 16 percent through
                              evaporation).

                              Field-testings were also conducted at a different time of the year and time
                              of the day than the actual Khamisiyah pit event. According to Dugway
                              officials, testing was done in May and in the early morning hours when
                              drainage conditions prevail. The U.S. demolition of the Khamisiyah pit
                              took place on March 10th, in the late afternoon during the presence of a
                              mixing layer. Other demolitions took place during evening and nighttime
                              hours when the stable (nocturnal) boundary layer emerges.

                              Despite the uncertainties in approximating the conditions that existed
                              even at Khamisiyah, DOD and the CIA used these data not only for the
                              Khamisiyah modeling, but also for the modeling of other sites. At all these
                              sites, the chemical warfare munitions would have been destroyed by air
                              strikes with much greater quantities of high-explosive charges and under
                              differing meteorological conditions.

Divergence in Results among   DOD made no effort to resolve widely divergent modeling results among
the Models                    the models selected. Instead, a composite model approach was taken,
                              which contributed to, rather than resolved, uncertainty.

                              For example, the DOD panel tasked the LLNL to conduct an analysis using
                              DOD’s MATHEW meteorological model with the ADPIC dispersion model.
                              During LLNL presentations to the DOD panel in November 1996 and

                              Page 14                                                          GAO-03-833T
February 1997, the LLNL provided a 72-hour composite projection,
assuming an instantaneous release of the contents of 550 rockets
containing sarin. It shows the plume covering an area extending south-
southeast from the release point to the Persian Gulf, then turning eastward
at the Gulf coast, and then turning northeast over the Gulf and extending
northeastward across central Iran. (For a more detailed discussion of this
topic, see appendix IV.)

DOD models showed significant differences from the LLNL assessment. In
contrast to the LLNL modeling simulations, analysis done with the DOD
models—VLSTRACK with COAMPS meteorological models and
HPAC/SCIPUFF with OMEGA meteorological forecasting models—
showed the plume from an instantaneous release moving first southerly,
and then turning to the west-southwest. See appendix V for a 72-hour
plume overlay of those composite projections published by DOD.

According to the DOD panel, no effort was made to reconcile the
differences between the DOD and LLNL modeling efforts. The panel
determined that the results were so different that it would not be possible
to choose the most affected areas and which U.S. forces were affected.
Accordingly, the panel recommended that a composite of the DOD models
be used to combine the hazard areas predicted by the models. Yet we
observed that even among the models selected for use by DOD, widely
differing paths were evident (see appendix VI).

Assuming that a composite modeling effort is an appropriate methodology,
a composite projection, including the above projections (DOD and CIA
composite and LLNL), would encompass a far larger number of forces and
seriously skew the outcome of any epidemiological studies done thus far,
as shown in figure 2.




Page 15                                                        GAO-03-833T
Figure 2: DOD Composite Projection and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Projection




                                       Page 16                                             GAO-03-833T
A clear divergence exists in the predictions of the models. Further
research was conducted to determine whether there was data available
that might explain this divergence. As a result of this research, the DOD
panel concluded that the divergence in the modeling outcomes may be
explained by a line of diffluence (directional split) in the independently
modeled 10-mm wind field data near Khamisiyah during the first 2 days of
the modeling period. The precise location of this line was critical to which
way the material would be transported by the wind. (See appendix VII for
an illustration of this diffluence with three different data sets).

In addition, DTRA officials told us that at the time of the modeling, they
conducted data-validation runs of the various models against visible
smoke plumes from the oil well fires in Kuwait; the runs showed a definite
bias, as shown in figure 3. According to DTRA, this validation could mean
that the uncertainty involved in using these models could result in an
angular shift of 10 to 50 degrees to the west. In other words, the actual
area coverd could be from 10 to 50 degrees to the east of the area
indicated by the model, meaning that it would cover a different population
from the one in the model.

Figure 3: Validation Runs of Various Models




Page 17                                                         GAO-03-833T
DOD’s Conclusion from     Given that the DOD modeling was flawed, DOD’s conclusion, from
the Epidemiological       epidemiological studies based on this modeling with regard to rate of
Studies Is Questionable   illness among exposed versus not exposed, is questionable.

                          Nevertheless, the results of the modeling were used as a basis for
                          determining the exposure classification—exposed versus not exposed to
                          chemical agents—of the troops in population-based epidemiological
                          studies. As we noted in 1997, to ascertain the causes of veterans’ illnesses,
                          it is imperative that investigators have valid and reliable information on
                          exposure, especially for low-level or intermittent exposures to chemical
                          warfare agents.4 To the extent that veterans are misclassified regarding
                          exposure, relationships would be obscured and conclusions would be
                          misleading.

                          Misclassification of study subjects in the measurement of the variables
                          being compared is a well-recognized methodological problem in
                          epidemiological studies. Misclassification can have two types of effects.
                          First, if misclassification affects both comparison groups equally (non-
                          differential—equally in the exposed and unexposed groups), it may water
                          down the results so that important associations are missed. Second, if
                          misclassification affects one group more than the other (differential
                          misclassification), it may introduce bias that obscures important
                          associations or creates false associations. Consequently, the study
                          misclassification resulted in confounding—that is, distorting—the results,
                          making the conclusion questionable.

                          By combining the results from its individual modeling efforts, which
                          showed different areas of coverage, and ignoring the results of the LLNL
                          modeling, which showed much larger areas of coverage, DOD potentially
                          may have misclassified a large number of troops truly exposed to chemical
                          warfare agents in the putatively non-exposed group. If exposure to
                          chemical warfare agents truly caused adverse effects resulting in
                          increased hospitalization or death, such one-way misclassification would
                          tend to obscure the differences in hospitalization or death rates by falsely
                          increasing the rates in the putatively non-exposed group while not
                          affecting the rates in the exposed group.




                          4
                           GAO, Gulf War Illnesses: Improved Monitoring of Clinical Progress and Reexamination
                          of Research Emphasis Are Needed, (GAO/NSIAD-97-163, June 23, 1997).



                          Page 18                                                                GAO-03-833T
              Based on the June 1996 plume modeling, DOD officials initially stated that
              only 300 to 400 troops were exposed to chemical plumes. Based on
              additional modeling, that number was revised to approximately 5000 on
              September 1996; to approximately 20,000 on October 22, 1996; and to
              98,910 on July 23, 1997. DOD 2000 estimates place the number exposed at
              101,752. The number from the October 22, 1997 plume model served as the
              basis for informing approximately 100,000 Gulf War veterans of possible
              exposure. This 1997 plume model was also used as the basis of at least two
              epidemiological studies that were published in peer-reviewed scientific
              journals.

              In 2000 DOD announced that as a result of ongoing scientific analysis,
              DOD’s Directorate for Deployment Health Support developed a new
              computer model that changed the location of the Khamisiyah plume
              footprint. The number of service members potentially exposed remained
              approximately 100,000. The new 2000 model reclassified 32,627 troops as
              unexposed who were previously classified as exposed and classified
              35,771 troops as exposed who were previously classified as unexposed.
              Given the weaknesses in DOD modeling and the inconsistency of data
              set—representing these models—given to different researchers, there can
              be no confidence that the research conclusions based on these models
              have any validity.


              In evaluating the limitations of the plume modeling, we concluded that
Conclusions   even under the best of the circumstances, the results from the modeling
              cannot be definitive. Plume modeling can allow one to estimate what
              might have happened when chemical warfare agents are released in the
              environments. Mathematical equations are used to predict the activities of
              an actual event, in this case, the direction and extent of the chemical
              warfare agent plume. However, in order to predict precisely, one needs to
              have accurate information on the source term and the meteorological
              conditions. However, DOD did not have accurate information on the
              source term or on meteorological conditions.

              Given these modeling flaws, the DOD modeling results should not form the
              basis for determining the extent of exposure of U.S. troops during the Gulf
              War. The models selected were not fully developed and validated for
              environmental fallout and the assumptions used to provide the input into
              the models exhibited a preferential bias for a particular and limited
              outcome. Yet even under these circumstances, the models failed to
              provide similar conclusions. In addition, many potential exposure events
              were not included. It is likely that if fully developed and validated models

              Page 19                                                         GAO-03-833T
and more realistic data for source term were included in the modeling,
particularly plume height and exposure duration, the exposure footprints
would be much larger and most likely to cover most of the areas where
U.S. and other coalition forces were deployed. However, given the
weaknesses in the data available for any further analyses, any further
modeling efforts on this issue would not be any more accurate and helpful.

In particular, source term data used for modeling the release of chemical
warfare agents during the Gulf War were inadequate for any model to
provide, with the desired accuracy and confidence, a single definitive
simulation of dispersion. Several modeling experts told us that if source
term inputs into modeling assessments are not accurate, the results of the
modeling would not be reliable The development of source term data was
not empirically driven, but rather driven by the subjective analyses of
individual intelligence agencies. No empirically driven analyses were
applied to determine plume height source data from the chemical warfare
agent research, production, and storage sites subjected to air strikes, and
no empirically driven calculations were disclosed regarding agent purity as
it affected the rate of decay of the chemical warfare agent munitions that,
according to intelligence agencies reports, were produced immediately
prior to the war.

Efforts to simulate events and define the source term through testing were
unrealistic, conducted under inappropriate conditions and, in some cases,
inappropriately applied to dissimilar events. The subjective and defective
quality of much of the analyses conducted is best demonstrated by the
dynamic nature of the source data over time. That is, repeated analyses
resulted in continually changing conclusions and source data, despite the
fact that no aspect of the actual events changed after their occurrence.

DOD completely disregarded the results from the LLNL model which
provided divergent results, which were in the DOD and CIA modeling
analysis. This occurred despite a high degree of divergence, even among
the selected DOD models. Further, the precise plume projections of the
LLNL model were excluded from DOD’s composite modeling. Finally, in
the DOD and CIA composite model, divergence from individual models
was masked. Despite all of the uncertainties that emerged from DOD and
CIA modeling, the results of the modeling were used to serve as a basis for
determining the exposure status—exposed versus not exposed to
chemical agents—of the troops in population-based epidemiological
studies. However, given the weaknesses in DOD modeling and the
inconsistency of data set—representing these models—given to different



Page 20                                                        GAO-03-833T
                  researchers, there can be no confidence that the research conclusions
                  based on these models have any validity.


                  Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I will be happy to answer any
                  questions you or Members of the Subcommittee may have.


                  Should you or your offices have any questions concerning this report,
Contacts and      please contact me at (202) 512-6412 or Sushil Sharma, Ph.D., DrPH, at
Acknowledgments   (202) 512-3460. We can also be reached by e-mail at rhodesk@gao.gov and
                  sharmas@gao.gov. Individuals who made key contributions to this
                  testimony were Jason Fong and Laurel Rabin. James J. Tuite III, a GAO
                  consultant, provided technical expertise.




                  Page 21                                                       GAO-03-833T
Appendix I: Khamisiyah Models


             On November 2, 1996, DOD requested the Institute for Defense Analysis to
             convene an independent panel of experts in meteorology, physics,
             chemistry, and related disciplines to review the Khamisiyah modeling
             analysis done by the CIA and its contractor, the Science Applications
             International Corporation. The DOD panel recommended conducting
             additional analyses using several DOD and non-DOD meteorological and
             dispersion models as shown in table 1.

             Table I.1: Meteorological and Dispersion Models Used in Modeling Khamisiyah

              Meteorological
              Model               Developer/Sponsor     Dispersion Model       Developer/Sponsor
              Coupled Ocean-      U.S. Navy             Hazard Prediction      Defense Threat
              Atmosphere                                and Assessment         Reduction Agency
              Mesoscale                                 Capability/Second
              Prediction System                         Order Closure,
              (COAMPS)                                  Integrated Puff
                                                        (HPAC/SCIPUFF)
              Mass Consistent     Department of         Atmospheric            Department of
              Wind Field          Energy/Lawrence       Dispersion by          Energy/Lawrence
              (MATHEW)            Livermore National    Particle-in-cell       Livermore National
                                  Laboratory            (ADPIC)                Laboratory
              Mesoscale Model,    National Center for   Non-Uniform Simple     U.S. Army
              Version 5 (MM5)     Atmospheric           Surface
                                  Research              Evaporation, Version
                                                        4 (NUSSE4)
              Naval Operational  U.S. Navy              Vapor Liquid Solid     U.S. Navy
              Global Atmospheric                        Tracking
              Prediction System                         (VLSTRACK)
              (NOGAPS)
              Operational Multi- Defense Threat
              scale Environment  Reduction Agency
              Model with Grid
              Adaptivity (OMEGA)
             Source: GAO.




             Page 22                                                                 GAO-03-833T
Appendix II: Power Law Formula


             A Sandia Laboratory empirical study performed in 1969 established a
             power law formula for calculating plume heights attributable to high-
             explosive detonations. This power law formula was derived from data on
             23 test shots, ranging from 140-2,242 lbs. high explosives at U.S.
             Department of Energy’s Nevada Test Site (National Exercise, Test, and
             Training Center) and provides a cloud top height at 2 minutes after
             detonation. Most of the shots were detonated during near neutral
             conditions, where the clouds continued to rise after 2 minutes; data for 5
             minutes after detonation on some shots shows tops rising to nearly double
             the 2-minute values. The 2-minute values better represent the final cloud
             top heights during stable conditions.

             This formula is represented as

               h = 76(w1/4)
               where h = height of plume in meters
               and, w = weight of explosives in pounds

             Using this formula, a MK-84 or GBU-24 (942.6lb of high explosives) bomb
             would generate a plume of 421 meters:

               H = 76 (942.6 pounds of high explosives)1/4
               H = 76 (5.541)
               H • 421 meters

             Figure II.1 shows what the plume height trend line would be using the
             formula to calculate plume heights, resulting from the detonation of high
             explosives ranging in weight from 100 – 2,000 lbs.




             Page 23                                                        GAO-03-833T
Figure II.1: Plume Height by Weight of Explosive




Page 24                                            GAO-03-833T
Appendix III: Plume Geometries and Wind
Transport

              As shown in figure III.1, plume geometry associated with high explosive
              discharges shows that the majority of the mass of the plume is located
              towards the higher altitudes, suggesting that the majority of the mass of
              the plume would move to higher altitudes where they might be transported
              by higher speed winds.

              Figure III.1: Examples of Various Plume Geometries




              As shown in figure 3.2, the distribution of the plume geometry may be
              affected by nocturnal jets.




              Page 25                                                       GAO-03-833T
Figure III.2: Impact of Nocturnal Jets on Plume at Higher Altitudes




In fact, empirical studies and actual reported and observed events tend to
refute DOD and intelligence agencies’ assumptions and support the
alternative assumption of transport by low-level jets. First, empirical
testing suggests that the plume heights were much higher than postulated
in the source term data. Second, no massive casualties were claimed,
reported or observed in areas immediately surrounding the Iraqi chemical
warfare research, production, and storage sites bombed by coalition
forces. Third, since many of the bombings occurred at night, the explosive
effects coupled with higher altitude plumes and the presence of a
nocturnal boundary layer capable of moving hazardous materials
hundreds of miles could easily account for this phenomenon, as well as
the reports of chemical warfare agent detections in areas occupied by U.S.
and coalition forces. Fourth, the dynamics of advection explained above
may account for the reported wartime nighttime detections of very low-
levels of chemical agents associated with turbulence mixing the upper and
lower level atmospheric layers resulting from aircraft-related sonic booms
and incoming missiles and artillery.




Page 26                                                               GAO-03-833T
Appendix IV: Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory Khamisiyah Simulation

              The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
              (LLNL) Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability was tasked to conduct
              an analysis using its MATHEW meteorological model with the ADPIC
              dispersion model. Between 1979 and 2003, the LLNL modeling capability,
              known as the Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC), now the
              National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), responded to
              more than 100 alerts, accidents, and disasters, and supported more than
              1,000 exercises. These include assessments of nuclear accidents, fires,
              industrial chemical accidents, and terrorist threats.

              During its presentations to the DOD panel in November 1996 and February
              1997, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provided
              plume projections based on the data provided by the panel staff. A number
              of model projections were calculated and presented to the panel. As
              shown in figure IV.1, the LLNL 72-hour composite projection assuming an
              instantaneous release of the contents of 550 rockets containing sarin. It
              shows the plume covering an area extending south-southeast from the
              release point to the Persian Gulf, then turning eastward at the Gulf Coast,
              and then turning northeast over the Gulf and extending northeastward
              across central Iran.




              Page 27                                                        GAO-03-833T
Figure IV.1: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Composite Projections




LLNL’s modeling assessment shows that the 72-hour exposure due to the
instantaneous release of sarin from 550 rockets covers a large hazard area.
According to LLNL, agent concentration in excess of the dosage amount
expected to cause “minimal effects” or symptoms on individuals covered a
2,255 square km area extending approximately 130 km south-southeast




Page 28                                                            GAO-03-833T
from the release point.1 Dosages in excess of the amount that would be
allowed for a worker exposed to sarin in the workplace, or the
“occupational limit,2“ were predicted over a 114,468 square kilometer area,
including Kuwait City, an approximately 200 kilometer-wide area across
the Persian gulf, and the higher elevations of the Zagos mountain range in
Iran. The remaining area was determined to be at the “general population
limit.”3




1
 Minimal effects is the lowest concentration level that would be expected to have
noticeable effects on human beings.
2
  Occupational limit is about one-tenth of the minimal effects value and is the maximum
concentration level that would be allowed for a worker who could become exposed to
sarin in the course of his job duties.
3
 The general population limit represents the limit below which any member of the general
population could be exposed (e.g., exhale) 7 days a week, every week, for a lifetime,
without experiencing any adverse health effects.




Page 29                                                                      GAO-03-833T
Appendix V: DOD Model Simulations


             A 72-hour plume overlay of those composite projections published by
             OSAGWI is shown in figure V.1.

             Figure V.1: DOD Composite Projection




             Note: This projection includes the VLSTRAK and SCIPIFF/HPAC dispersion models with COAMPS,
             MM5, and OMEGA meteorological models.




             Page 30                                                                      GAO-03-833T
Appendix VI: Divergence among DOD Models


                                      Even among the models selected for use by the DOD panel, widely
                                      divergent directional outcomes were observed. As shown in figure VI.1,
                                      differences can be seen among various models for hazard areas during the
                                      first 2 days of the modeling period for Khamisiyah.

Figure VI.1 Divergence among Models Used in Constructing DOD and CIA Composite Analysis




                                      The March 10, 1991 graphic demonstrates a 40-45 degree divergence
                                      between the HPAC/OMEGA and the HPAC/COAMPS projections while the
                                      March 11, 1991 graphic demonstrates approximately an 80 degree
                                      divergence.

                                      The uncertainty attributed to this divergence is not limited to the
                                      Khamisiyah modeling. According to a modeling analyst involved with the
                                      modeling of Al Muthanna, the weather models used, COAMPS and
                                      OMEGA, each showed the plume going in different directions, at a 110-120
                                      degree difference. The analyst said that COAMPS showed the plume going
                                      in a North/Northwest direction, while OMEGA showed the plume going
                                      South. Similar divergence among model predictions was also observed in
                                      the modeling of Muhammadiyat, as shown in figure VI.2.




                                      Page 31                                                      GAO-03-833T
Figure VI.2: Divergence in DOD Models for Muhammadiyat




                                      Page 32            GAO-03-833T
Appendix VII: Divergence and Wind Field
Models

              In figure VII.1, windfield vector divergence projections 6.0 meters above
              terrain are based on observational data processed by the Meteorological
              Data Interpolation Code (MEDIC) model.




              Page 33                                                        GAO-03-833T
Figure VII.1: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Diagnostic Wind Model




Based on Observational Data

In figure VII.2, the Windfield vector model based on European Centre for
Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) projections, processed by the
Meteorological Data Interpolation Code (MEDIC) model, is shown.




Page 34                                                            GAO-03-833T
Figure VII.2: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Diagnostic Wind Model
Based on ECMWF Projections




Page 35                                                            GAO-03-833T
In figure VII.3, the windfield vector model is based on Coupled Ocean-
Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) Simulations at the
U.S. Naval Research Laboratories.




Page 36                                                      GAO-03-833T
           Figure VII.3: Windfield Vector Model Based on COAMPS




(460550)
           Page 37                                                GAO-03-833T
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