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Chemical Meteorology (CHEMET) service

Buncefield Oil Depot fire in 2005

CHEMET can be used to track the dispersion of a chemical release. Telephone advice is available on demand which will give a simple short-range prediction of the anticipated behaviour of the plume.

The Met Office’s CHEMET service is used to track the dispersion of a chemical release.

In the event of an incident involving hazardous chemicals, local Fire and Police services will contact the Met Office Environment Monitoring and Response Centre (EMARC). Typical scenarios could be a chemical spillage, a fire at a chemical plant or oil refinery, or a road traffic accident in which a hazardous substance has either escaped or ignited. For small-scale events, EMARC produces meteorological guidance and a plume prediction with its chemical meteorology (CHEMET) service. For larger release events, such as the Buncefield Oil Depot fire, more-sophisticated plume modelling techniques are utilised.

Buncefield Oil Depot fire case study

Find out more about how we helped during the Buncefield Oil Depot fire in 2005.

Buncefield Oil Depot fire 2005 - case study

CHEMET can also be used for incidents where a release may occur but has not yet happened e.g. damage to a pipeline or systems failure at an industrial plant.

What does the CHEMET service provide?

Telephone advice is available on demand to give a simple short-range prediction of the anticipated behaviour of the plume. Within 20 minutes, the formal forecast and plume map will be sent by email. The CHEMET will also be made available to view on Hazard Manager.

CHEMET consists of three elements:

  • A forecast
  • A map showing the plume below 100 metres
  • Telephone consultation with the forecaster

When a CHEMET is requested, the Met Office meteorologist will need some information from the requesting agency about the incident, and will then use this information, combined with meteorological observations and forecasts of weather and atmospheric conditions, to run a computer model simulation that will predict the dispersion pattern of the chemical.

How do I request a CHEMET?

To request a CHEMET telephone the Met Office EMARC on (01392) 447947. A CHEMET may also be requested by emailing the information requested in the request guidance to emarc@metoffice.gov.uk (a subsequent telephone call should always be made to ensure it has been received by the Met Office).

Further details can be found in the CHEMET user guide on Hazard Manager.

For more information about our services for Government, please contact our Contact us.

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