5th NAME User Workshop held at the Met Office

The workshop was organised by members of the Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Quality group and attended by developers and users of the model from the academic, research, and governmental sectors both from within and outside the UK.

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 to foster interaction among developers and users from the academic, research, and governmental sectors both at national and international level.

Scientific content of the workshop    

The 2018 workshop covered interdisciplinary sessions from the latest technical and scientific developments in NAME to applications of the model to atmospheric chemistry and composition, air quality, biological and radiological dispersion, and volcanic emissions. A total of 18 talks and 11 posters were presented over the two days.

Key topics presented at the workshop

  • New developments of the model were introduced, including a new faster parallel version of NAME that has been developed in collaboration with the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, and a Met Office prototype for running NAME with ensemble meteorological data for assessing dispersion forecast uncertainty. A new web interface for running NAME on the JASMIN computing platform was demonstrated by the University of Leicester, which will bring dispersion modelling capability to the wider scientific community. 

  • Air Quality and composition: The capability of NAME for Air Quality forecasting was demonstrated as well as ongoing work by the University of Nottingham using NAME to interpret atmospheric composition data from South East Asia (Oram et al. 2017; Ashfold et al. 2017). Early results from a study on boundary-layer entrainment and its effect on near-surface pollutant concentrations was presented, which is a collaboration between the University of Reading and the Met Office.  

Recent work on quantifying emissions of greenhouse gases from observations and comparison with national inventories was shown (Montzka et al., 2018). This work demonstrated that the Northern Hemisphere concentrations of most of the Kyoto Protocol gases are still increasing in the atmosphere. The University of Manchester presented an assessment of the inventory values for key greenhouse and air pollutant emissions using an aircraft mass-balance technique focusing on the London area. Lastly, the University of Leicester demonstrated how air mass footprints can be used to understand atmospheric chemistry, as well as an analysis of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide from satellite data with the aim to test and improve emissions inventories.  

  • Biological dispersion: NAME’s ability to aid in forecasting the dispersion of wheat stem rust - a crop disease and one of the largest contributors to wheat crop loss – was illustrated by the University of Cambridge (Meyer et al., 2017).  The Met Office’s capability to aid in the response to the spread of windborne animal and plant disease was demonstrated (e.g. incursion of bluetongue virus from continental Europe and the spread of wheat rust spores). Work on more accurate pollen forecasting was presented by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, along with the likely explanations for how Harlequin ladybirds arrived in the UK.

  • Volcanic ash modelling: An assessment of the sensitivity of atmospheric dispersion to ash particle shape and size was presented by the University of Bristol and revealed the importance of ensuring consistency in the definitions of size and shape, from measurement to modelling (Saxby et al., in review). Work on the implementation of a new shape-dependent drag law into ash dispersion models was discussed by the British Geological Survey.  

An interesting case study of a significant resuspended ash event on Iceland in 2017 was illustrated (Hammond et al., in review) by one of the Met Office’s Operational Meteorologists who was on duty during the event, along with insights into the procedures of the operational forecasting of volcanic ash at the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre. Ongoing work on an inter-comparison of two inversion methods for determining volcanic ash source terms using NAME and satellite observations was shown, as well as new features in NAME for simulating the lateral spread of volcanic umbrella clouds.

  • Radiological dispersion: A case study using NAME to model radioactive particles detected across Europe in 2017 was presented, along with initial results from the CONFIDENCE project - a large collaboration including the Met Office and Public Health England, which aims to understand, quantify and communicate uncertainty in radiological dispersion predictions. Early results using ensembles to model meteorological uncertainty were also shown.  

Further work on estimating gamma dose rate in NAME was presented by Public Health England. Lastly, the University of Reading presented work on the impact of implementing a particle-size dependent wet deposition parameterisation and sensitivity to the temporal resolution of precipitation fields, focussing on the inter-continental dispersion and deposition of radionuclides from 2011-Fukushima nuclear accident.

  • Demo groups: A new feature of this year’s workshop was a “demonstration group” session, which provided an opportunity for participants to get help and ask questions about specific topics including various facilities for running NAME, the NAME collaboration platform and a range of other topics. This was a great success and proved to be very valuable for participants.  

More information  

For more photos from the workshop see Twitter #NAMEUW18
The next NAME User Workshop is expected to be held in June / July 2019.


Ashfold, M. J., M.T. Latif, A.A. Samah, M.I. Mead, N.R.P. Harris: Influence of Northeast Monsoon cold surges on air quality in Southeast Asia, Atmospheric Environment, 166, 498-509,  
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.07.047, 2017.
Hammond, K., F. Beckett and A. Sibley: Forecasting Resuspended Ash Clouds in Iceland at the London VAAC, Weather, in review, 2018.
Meyer, M., J. A. Cox, M. D. T. Hitchings, L. Burgin, M. C. Hort, D. P. Hodson & C. A. Gilligan:  
Quantifying airborne dispersal routes of pathogens over continents to safeguard global wheat supply. Nature Plants. 3, 780–786, 2017.
Montzka, S. A.,  G. S. Dutton, P. Yu, E. Ray, R. W. Portmann, J. S. Daniel, L. Kuijpers, B. D. Hall, D. Mondeel, C. Siso, J. D. Nance, M. Rigby, A. J. Manning, L. Hu, F. Moore, B. R. Miller & J. W. Elkins: An unexpected and persistent increase in global emissions of ozone-depleting CFC-11, Nature, 557, 413–417, 2018.
Oram, D. E., Ashfold, M. J., Laube, J. C., Gooch, L. J., Humphrey, S., Sturges, W. T., Leedham-Elvidge, E., Forster, G. L., Harris, N. R. P., Mead, M. I., Samah, A. A., Phang, S. M., Ou-Yang, C.-F., Lin, N.-H., Wang, J.-L., Baker, A. K., Brenninkmeijer, C. A. M., and Sherry, D.: A growing threat to the ozone layer from short-lived anthropogenic chlorocarbons, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 11929-11941, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-11929-2017, 2017.
Saxby, J., F. Beckett, K. Cashman, A. Rust, E. Tennant: The impact of particle shape on fall velocity: implications for volcanic ash dispersion modelling, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, in review, 2018.