Applied Atmospheric Dispersion group

Using the NAME-Inversion method we can determine regional emission estimates of greenhouse gases

Applying atmospheric dispersion science to a range of subject areas with a primary focus on supporting government policy.

The release of both natural and man made contaminants into the atmosphere can present numerous hazards to human health, animals and plants and the climate. The degree of impact is dependant on the pollutant and its concentration. Dispersion science is the study of the release, movement, dilution, loss and impact of such pollutants in the atmosphere. Atmospheric dispersion modelling is the use of computer models to simulate these processes and is the means by which we can predict the impact of pollutants over distances ranging from a few hundred metres to the entire globe.

The Met Office has a long history of research into, and providing advice on, the atmospheric transport and dispersion of pollutants. During the 1960's with the advent of computers the Met Office was at the forefront in developing the first simple dispersion computer models. However, it was the Chernobyl incident in 1986 that triggered the start of major developments around the world of sophisticated atmospheric dispersion models. The Met Office Numerical Atmospheric dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) was one such model which became operational in 1993.

The Applied Atmospheric Dispersion (AAD) group carry out a wide range of activities that combines research, model development, consultancy, emergency response and policy support associated with atmospheric dispersion. Our primary tools are NAME and the NAME-Inversion system which are continually developed and applied to an ever-growing range of atmospheric dispersion and related problems, ranging from air quality to estimating emissions of greenhouse gases.

Key aims

  • To carry out research in the field of atmospheric dispersion. 
  • To develop and improve NAME.
  • To develop and improve the NAME-Inversion system (InTEM).
  • To support the Met Office operational emergency response capability related to atmospheric dispersion.
  • To provide expert advice to UK Government, academia the International community and commercial enterprises in all areas linked to the atmospheric dispersion.

Current projects

  • Interpreting observations at remote measurement stations to estimate long-term  atmospheric trends and regional emissions of greenhouse and ozone-depleting gases for DECC.
  • National and International policy support to Defra in relation to modelling the formation of secondary particulate matter and estimating the source of their primary precursors.
  • Assessing the quality of the UK nitrous oxide emission inventory and its constituent components, principally agriculture, for Defra by comparison with observations.
  • Provision of three-dimensional meteorology for dispersion and inversion modelling.
  • Modelling the dispersion of sulphur dioxide and the formation of sulphate from volcanic eruptions.
  • Scientific collaboration with a number of National and International organisations (e.g. AGAGE, EMPA, Universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Leicester and Cambridge).

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Last updated: 29 July 2014

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