Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling

The Royal Meteorological Society (RMS) traces its origins back to 1850 when the British Meteorological Society was formed as a society the objects of which should be the advancement and extension of meteorological science by determining the laws of climate and of meteorological phenomena in general.

It became The Meteorological Society in 1866, when it was incorporated by Royal Charter, and the Royal Meteorological Society in 1883, when Queen Victoria granted the privilege of adding 'Royal' to the title.

As of 2006, it has more than 3,000 members worldwide. [1] Membership is open to anyone with an interest in meteorology or related sciences. Associate fellows may be any age and do not require any specific expertise in meteorology. Fellows normally require a formal qualification in a subject related to meteorology plus five years experience and must be nominated by two other fellows.


The society has a number of regular publications:

  • Weather: a monthly magazine with many full colour illustrations and photos for specialists and general readers with an interest in meteorology. It uses a minimum of mathematics and technical language.
  • The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: as one of the world's leading journals for meteorology publishes original research in the atmopheric sciences. There are eight issues per year.
  • Meteorological Applications: this is a journal for applied meteorologists, forecasters and users of meteorological services and has been published since 1994. It is aimed at a general readership and authors are asked to take this into account when preparing papers.
  • International Journal of Climatology: this journal has 15 issues a year and covers a broad spectrum of research in climatology.
  • Atmospheric Science Letters: an electronic only publication for short communication.

Atmospheric dispersion modelling guidelines[]

The Royal Meteorological Society developed a set of atmospheric dispersion modelling guidelines in 1995 intended to promote good practice in the use of mathematical atmospheric dispersion models, emphasising the importance of selecting the most suitable modelling procedures and of fully documenting and reporting the results of modelling assessments. The underlying objectives were to ensure the efficient use of resources in conducting modelling assessments to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.

The 1995 guidelines provided broad general principles of good practice for modelling studies applying across a wide range of modelling situations. For that reason, they did not provide situation-specific technical advice, such as how to model a dense gas spill or which plume rise formula to use.

The UK Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling Liaison Committee (ADMLC) believed that modelling techniques had evolved sufficiently since 1995 to warrant upgrading the 1995 guidelines and therefore funded the Royal Meteorological Society to update the 1995 guidelines. The updated guidelines were completed and published in 2004 and are entitled Guidelines for the Preparation of Dispersion Modelling Assessments for Compliance with Regulatory Requirements – an Update to the 1995 Royal Meteorological Society Guidance.[2]

The updated guidelines were prepared by representatives from DEFRA, ADMLC, the UK Dispersion Modelling Users Group (DMUG), the University of Manchester and the UK Environment Agency.[2]

Special interest groups[]

The society has several Special Interest Groups which organize meetings and other activities to facilitate exchange of information and views within specific areas of meteorology. [3] These are informal groups of professionals interested in specific technical areas of the profession of meteorology. The groups are primarily a way of communcating at a specialist level.

The current special interest groups are:

  • Association of British Climatologists
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Data assimilation
  • Dynamical problems
  • History of meteorology and physical oceanography
  • Meterorological observing systems
  • Physical processes
  • Satellite meteorology and oceanography
  • Weather forecasting
  • Weather services forum


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