The nearest surface observations were some 85 kilometers from Khamisiyah and the nearest higher altitude observations were approximately 200 kilometers distant. The Panel's deliberations began in November.

The Panel agreed, based on the information it was given, that there were major uncertainties about almost all key parameters in the analysis. In addition, the Panel also concluded that the initial analyses of the pit performed by SAIC had a number of serious drawbacks. First, the Panel felt that the duration of meteorological reconstruction was inadequate, particularly if large amounts of agent had been released from the pit or if it had been released slowly, perhaps over many days. This is especially the case since very low exposure levels were of concern. Second, given the fact that the initial analysis showed that it was possible that agent might have traveled considerable distances, the use of a dispersion model validated for short-range tactical purposes was less than ideal. Third, and perhaps most important, the Panel felt that failing to directly link the OMEGA meteorological and NUSSE4 dispersion models made it impossible to determine where concentrations of agent might have gone. This, in turn, made it impossible to calculate possible dosages to US forces in the area of Khamisiyah. Such dosage information would be necessary for epidemiological assessments of the role of nerve agent as a possible cause of the illnesses being experienced by Gulf War veterans.

Analytical Activities Requested by the Panel

After reviewing the initial analyses and receiving briefings on other models applicable to this problem, the Panel asked that a set of analyses be conducted to provide greater insight into the difficulties of analyzing an agent release such as the one at Khamisiyah. First, because of the Panel's concern that the initial meteorological reconstruction was too short, they requested that meteorological reconstructions extend for at least 72 hours following the initial release. Second, they requested that any dispersion models used be linked with meteorological output so that agent dosage contours could be generated. And finally, the Panel felt that the way to move forward with the source term, given the lack of knowledge concerning what actually happened in the pit, was to look at a variety of parametric variations that could bound the problem. Accordingly, the Panel specified varying source term assumptions for its work and the work it tasked to others:

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