Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling

The UK Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling Liaison Committee (ADMLC) is composed of representatives from U.K. governmental departments, agencies and research organizations as well as from non-governmental organizations and groups. The ADML's purpose is the review and study of atmospheric dispersion modelling [1][2] and related phenomena for application primarily in the authorization or licensing of air pollutant emissions to the atmosphere from industrial, commercial or institutional sites.

The ADMLC is primarily concerned with atmospheric pollutant emissions [3] from regulated emission sites and other fixed sources. Their review and study interests include routine emissions as well as accidental releases or releases cause by operational upsets. Their interests also include modelling dispersion at all scales from on-site short range (including dispersion modelling indoors) to long range distances. The ADMLC does not normally get involved with pollutant emissions from roadway traffic or other non-fixed sources. Nor does it get involved with air pollution topics such as acid rain and ozone formation.


In 1977, a meeting of representatives from UK government departments, utilities and research organisations was held to discuss atmospheric dispersion calculation methods for radioactive releases. Those present agreed on the need for a review of recent developments in atmospheric dispersion modelling and formed an informal Steering Committee, which operated for a number of years. That Steering Committee subsequently became the UK Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling Liaison Committee in 1995.

Although the ADMLC was initially formed to consider primarily radioactive releases from the nuclear industry, it has expanded its range of interests and its membership to more fully reflect the needs of industrial and regulatory organisations.


As listed on the ADMLC's web site [1], the membership of the ADMLC includes the following UK entities:

The Chairman and the Secretary of the ADMLC are provided by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB).

Areas of interest[]

ADMLC facilitates the exchange of ideas and highlights where there are gaps in knowledge. It tries to provide guidance to, and to endorse good practice in, the dispersion modelling community. The ADMLC has hosted workshops and welcomes ideas for joint meetings or joint workshops with other organisations.

The ADMLC members pay an annual subscription which is used to fund reviews on topics agreed on by the members, and to support in part its secretariat, provided by the Health Protection Agency. By the end of the 2004/05 financial year, the ADMLC had funded 24 review projects. Those projects are indicative of the areas in which the ADMLC is interested, and they include the following review project subjects:

  • Dispersion at low wind speed
  • Dispersion from sources near groups of buildings, or in urban areas
  • Plume rise
  • Dispersion in coastal areas,
  • The use of old meteorological data or data obtained at some distance from the release point
  • The possible use of data from numerical weather prediction programs
  • Uncertainty of dispersion model predictions as a result of deriving atmospheric stability indicators from meteorological data
  • Proceedings of a workshop on the reliability of dispersion models for regulatory applications
  • Review of the Royal Meteorological Society guidelines for atmospheric dispersion modelling
  • Calculation of air pollutant concentrations indoors
  • Dispersion following explosions


  1. Turner, D.B. (1994), Workbook of atmospheric dispersion estimates: an introduction to dispersion modeling, CRC Press, ISBN: 156670023X.
  2. Beychok, Milton R., Fundamentals of Stack Gas Dispersion, (2005), 4th Edition, author-published, ISBN: 0964458802.
  3. AP 42 Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors (online version)

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