The Met Office's Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) is used to model a wide range of atmospheric dispersion events.
NAME is a sophisticated tool capable of simulating many atmospheric dispersion phenomena and associated physical and chemical processes. NAME is capable of both forward and inverse (source identification) simulations.
NAME is used by the Met Office to model a wide range of atmospheric dispersion events including nuclear accidents, volcanic eruptions, chemical accidents, smoke from fires, odours, airborne animal diseases, as well as the provision of routine air quality forecasts. In inverse mode the model is used to investigate emissions of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric pollutants. The model is used for research activities and for emergency air pollution forecasts.
NAME uses the Met Office Unified Model and ECMWF Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) meteorology data. Both forecast and archived data are available, enabling forecasts out to 10 days and historic studies back to 1957. There is no limitation to the duration of a pollutant release or the time period covered by a NAME simulation. It is therefore possible to predict dispersion over distances ranging from a few kilometres to the whole globe and for time periods of minutes to decades.
NAME is a Lagrangian particle model which calculates the dispersion by tracking model 'particles' through the modelled atmosphere. These particles move with the resolved wind described by the meteorology, which can vary in space and time. The particles' motion also has a random component to represent the effects of atmospheric turbulence. A consequence of this is that no assumptions need to be made for the shape of the concentration distribution, such as are required in Gaussian plume models. Pollutants can also be removed from the model atmosphere by several processes: (i) fall out due to gravity, (ii) impaction with the surface, (iii) washout where the pollutant is 'swept out' by falling precipitation, and (iv) "rainout" where the pollutant is absorbed directly into cloud droplets as they form. In addition each model 'particle' can have its own characteristics; for example particles can represent different compounds or chemicals, and particles can have real particulate sizes.
An overview of the latest generation of the model (NAME III) is presented by Jones et al. (2007).
NAME is available for external research use under licence. A number of UK Universities, UK government agencies and the South African Weather Service use NAME in collaboration with the Met Office to undertake dispersion based research.
Further information on how to apply for a licence can be obtained by contacting the Met Office.
Jones A.R., Thomson D.J., Hort M. and Devenish B., 'The U.K. Met Office's next-generation atmospheric dispersion model, NAME III', in Borrego C. and Norman A.-L. (Eds) Air Pollution Modeling and its Application XVII (Proceedings of the 27th NATO/CCMS International Technical Meeting on Air Pollution Modelling and its Application), Springer, pp. 580-589, 2007.
Last updated: 22 May 2012