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.