The 6th NAME User Workshop

The Met Office welcomed almost 60 participants for a two day workshop to discuss recent developments and applications of the NAME atmospheric dispersion model.

The workshop was organised by members of the Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Quality group and brought together new and experienced users and model developers of the Met Office's atmospheric dispersion model NAME. The two day event provides a platform for sharing research and other model-related information, networking and strengthening links. This year's workshop was the largest to date with 35 external users and collaborators from academia, government organisations, research institutions and commercial companies both from within the UK and globally.

The NAME model and user community

The Numerical Atmospheric-Dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) is a Lagrangian model developed by the Met Office to simulate the dispersion of a wide range of airborne pollutants from dispersion events such as nuclear accidents, volcanic eruptions, chemical accidents, smoke from fires, and airborne animal and plant diseases. In recent years, the NAME user community has seen continuous growth and the first user workshop was established in 2014.

Scientific content of the workshop

During the 2019 workshop, details were presented of collaborative projects and the use of NAME across many applications, organisations and countries. Interdisciplinary sessions covered the latest technical and scientific developments in NAME and applications of the model to air quality and composition, inverse modelling, emergency response, biological and radiological dispersion, and volcanic emissions.

Key topics presented at the workshop

The workshop introduced NAME v8, including highlighting new features and giving advice for users on how to run this first MPI version of NAME. Attendees were also given a preview of developments planned for the next version.

We heard about the EUROVOLC project (looking to bring together volcano observations, VAACs (Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres) and volcano research institutes), the CONFIDENCE project (an EU - Horizon2020 project aiming to improve modelling and decision making during nuclear emergencies by considering uncertainties in, for example, the source release and the meteorology), Clean Air (an ambitious new programme led by UKRI and the Met Office to improve air quality and reduce its health impacts in the UK) and V-PLUS (a NERC funded volcanic ash project integrating satellite data and in-situ observations with atmospheric and dynamical models to better understand volcanic plumes, eruption column dynamics and forecasting plume dispersion).

Presentations were given on the use of NAME in UK radiological assessments, for emergency modelling in New Zealand, in an early warning system for wheat rust diseases in Ethiopia and in assisting with an aircraft campaign studying biomass burning aerosol over the SE Atlantic.

There were a number of talks on assessing uncertainties in modelling, including the use of meteorological ensembles and accounting for uncertainties in source details. Alongside this, inversion modelling techniques were described using NAME to estimate CFC emissions from China, methane emissions from Brazil and the source of a radiological cloud over Europe.

For a second year an interactive ‘tech-bar’ session provided an opportunity for attendees to get help and to ask questions on a range of NAME related issues. A variety of stations, designed for both new and experienced users and run by experts, invited participants to discuss training requirements, propose future developments, talk over procedures for NAME code development by external users and see the history of NAME through a timeline of incidents and events. Demos of Python routines for plotting NAME results, using NAME on the JASMIN computing platform and the NAME collaboration portal on MOSRS were given and participants were invited to "bring your NAME input file" to get advice on the set up of their model runs.

The next NAME User Workshop is expected to be held in summer 2020.