Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling

Atmospheric dispersion models are computer programs that use mathematical algorithms to simulate how pollutants in the ambient atmosphere disperse and, in some cases, how they react in the atmosphere. The dispersion models are used to estimate or to predict the downwind concentration of air pollutants emitted from sources such as industrial plants and and vehicular traffic. Such models are important to governmental agencies tasked with protecting and managing the ambient air quality. The models are typically used to determine whether existing or proposed new industrial facilites are or will be in compliance with national ambient air quality standards. The models may also be used assist in the design of effective control strategies to reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants.

The atmospheric dispersion models are also known as atmospheric diffusion models, air dispersion models, air quality models, and air pollution dispersion models. This compilation of atmospheric dispersion models lists and, where possible, very briefly describes the models developed in England and in Australia.

Models developed in England[]

  • ADMS-3 - Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling System (ADMS-3) is an advanced dispersion model developed in England for calculating concentrations of pollutants emitted both continuously from point, line, volume and area sources, or discretely from point sources.
  • ADMS-URBAN - A model for simulating dispersion on scales ranging from a street scale to city-wide or county-wide scale, handling most relevant emission sources such as traffic, industrial, commercial, and domestic sources. It is also used for air quality management and assessments of current and future air quality vis-a-vis national and regional standards in Europe and elsewhere.
  • ADMS-Roads - A model for simulating dispersion of vehicular pollutant emissions from small road networks in combination with emissions from industrial plants. It handles multiple road sources as well as multiple point, line or area emission sources and the model operation is similar to the other ADMS models
  • ADMS-Screen - A screening model for rapid assessment of the air quality impact of a single industrial stack to determine if more detailed modeling is needed. It combines the dispersion modeling algorithms of the ADMS models with a user interface requiring minimal input data.
  • GASTAR - A model for simulating accidental releases of denser-than-air flammable and toxic gases. It handles instantaneous and continuous releases, releases from jet sources, releases from evaporation of volatile liquid pools, variable terrain slopes and ground roughness, obstacles such as fences and buildings, and time-varying releases.
  • NAMEIII - Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) is a local to global scale model developed by the UK's Met Office. It is used for: forecasting of air quality, air pollution dispersion, and acid rain; tracking radioactive emissions and volcanic ash discharges; analysis of accidental air pollutant releases and assisting in emergency response; and long-term environmental inopact analysis. It is an integrated model that includes boundary layer dispersion modelling.

Models developed in Australia[]

  • AUSPLUME - A dispersion model that has been designated as the primary model accepted by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of the Australian state of Victoria.
  • LADM - An advanced model developed by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for simulating the dispersion of buoyant pollution plumes and predicting the photochemical formation of smog over complex terrain on a local to regional scale. The model can also handle fumigated plumes
  • TAPM - An advanced dispersion model integrated with a pre-processor for providing meteorological data inputs. It can handle multiple pollutants, and point,line, area and volume sources on a local, city or regional scale. The model capabilities include building effects, plume depletion by deposition, and a photochemistry module. This model was also developed by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
  • DISPMOD - A Gaussian atmospheric dispersion model for point sources located in coastal regions. It was designed specifically by CSIRO to simulate the plume fumigation that occurs when an elevated onshore pollution plume intersects a growing thermal internal boundary layer (TIBM) contained within offshore air flow coming onshore.
  • AUSPUFF - A Gaussian puff model designed for regulatory use by CSIRO. It includes some simple algorithms for the chemical transformation of reactive air pollutants.

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