The 9th NAME User Workshop

The Met Office welcomed over 70 participants to a hybrid 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 event provides a platform for sharing research and other model-related information, networking and strengthening links. This year the workshop was mainly held in-person to facilitate networking, but with a limited online option for those unable to travel. Participants attended 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-Eulerian 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 plumes from fires, and airborne animal and plant disease spread. 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 2023 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, quantitification of uncertainty, inversion techniques and applications of the model to air quality and biological and volcanic dispersion.

Key topics presented at the workshop

The workshop introduced NAME v8.4, highlighting new features and giving advice for users. Attendees were also given a preview of developments planned for the next version.

Topics, in both oral and poster presentations, ranged from research studies to emergency response applications; from local to global dispersion; and plant spores to volcanic ash. There were some common themes:

  • The use of Observations – uncertainty in observations, using observations to verify modelling, and collection methods.
  • Uncertainty – Source term uncertainty, parameter sensitivity and the use of meteorological or dispersion ensembles.
  • Additional processes – for example, disease decay, chemistry
  • NWP/flow field options – including higher temporal and spatial resolution and near source schemes.
  • Outputs – formats, analysis, visualisation
  • Emissions – different species, vertical distribution, source term uncertainty
  • Response and Hazard systems – wheat rust spread in Africa, inversion for volcanic emission estimation, a new GUI for JASMIN to support a wider research base, probabilistic disease spread in New Zealand, use of ensembles for a wide range of responses at NOAA

Throughout the workshop an exercise was played out, exposing attendees to the pressures and difficulties of emergency response. In this fictituous exercise, reports of a smell had been received, but the location of the source was unknown. Attendees were split into teams and, using the reported smell details and access to NAME and weather information, were tasked with providing guidance to customers and emergency response teams. Further details of the incident were revealed throughout the workshop and the exercise concluded with a presentation of the solution and a discussion of the experience.

Interactive ‘tech-bar’ sessions again provided an opportunity for attendees to get help and to ask questions on a range of NAME related issues. There were a variety of sessions, designed for both new and experienced users, including an activity on the use of uncertainty information and a demonstration of the new GitHub repository for NAME. There were a number of opportunities for networking and informal discussions, including a workshop dinner on the Monday evening.

The next NAME User Workshop will take place on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th June 2024.