Sulfur hexafluoride as a complementary method for measuring the extent of point-source thermal effluents

Tae Wook Kim, Kitack Lee, Ki Tae Park, Miok Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The transport and dilution dynamics of power-plant thermal effluent were measured for 10 consecutive days, between 25 June and 4 July 2006, by concurrently mapping the daily distributions of seawater temperature and concentrations of deliberately released sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) within the tidal Kwangyang Bay on the southern coast of Korea. Estimates of the daily extent of the thermal plume based on temperature and SF6 data showed distinct differences. These differences were particularly pronounced on sunny days during which solar radiation significantly heated river or bay waters moving across the tidal flats; in these cases, the estimates based on seawater temperature data were consistently greater than those based on SF6 data, indicating considerable overestimates of the extent of the thermal plume when temperature data were used. The present results indicate that the concurrent use of seawater temperature and SF6 data is a powerful method in determining the extent of thermal plumes, particularly for shallow areas in which the effects of solar heating lead to large uncertainties in temperature-based estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1294-1302
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Professor Yang-Ki Cho of Chonnam National University (Korea) for providing valuable comments on the effect of solar radiation on efforts to determine the extent of a target thermal plume in shallow tidal bays. The paper greatly benefited from valuable comments of anonymous reviewers. This work was financially supported by the National Research Laboratory Program of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. Partial support was also provided by the Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Research Center at Pohang University of Science and Technology and Technopia 21 project of Korean Institute of Environmental Science and Technology.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Air-sea gas exchange
  • Power plant
  • Solar heating
  • Sulfur hexafluoride
  • Thermal plume
  • Tidal flats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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