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Two simple descriptors are introduced and the fractal dimension is used to characterise the capability of a monitoring network to either spot, delineate or track a pollution cloud moving across a territory. The descriptors are applied to the European monitoring network for radioactive aerosol (i.e. the sum of the national networks). Simple analysis shows that, on average, the time and space resolution of the network are well balanced for tracking the movement of a radioactive cloud. Such tracking, however, can only be started one or two days after the release. The geographical inhomogeneity of the network is quantified by a fractal dimension of 1.6, implying that radioactive clouds with a dimension of less than 0.4 might not be detected by the network.

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Authors: RAES F, JRC Ispra (IT);GRAZIANI G, JRC Ispra (IT);GIRARDI F, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Vol. 18 (1991) pp. 221-234
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