Continued Advancements in Regulatory Air Quality Dispersion Modeling

EM – February 2023: This month, EM presents a cross section of the information presented at A&WMA's 9th Guideline on Air Quality Models Specialty Conference held in September 2022 in Durham, NC.
by Anthony J. Schroeder

Air dispersion modeling is a key component of the air quality permitting and planning process, both in the United States and around the world. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-maintained dispersion models, including the AERMOD model, are required for use in most regulatory modeling analyses in the United States and are often used in other countries. EPA regulatory guidance on the use of air dispersion models is found in the Guideline on Air Quality Models, which is codified at 40 CFR 51, Appendix W. This guidance document, originally published in 1978, has been modified from time to time over the years as advances have been made in dispersion modeling theory and as new standards have been promulgated that have required the use of new and innovative modeling techniques.

To provide updates on their research and gather input from the public, EPA has held a series of conferences on air quality modeling. The most recent of these conferences was the 12th Conference on Air Quality Modeling, which occurred in October 2019. Presentations at these conferences, which have traditionally occurred approximately every three years, are often the birthplace of innovations that result in changes to the Guideline on Air Quality Models. To facilitate information sharing and to help keep air dispersion modeling research moving forward in the times between EPA conferences, A&WMA has also held a series of specialty conferences on air dispersion modeling.

A&WMA's 9th Guideline on Air Quality Models Specialty Conference was held in September 2022 in Durham, NC. This conference brought together nearly 100 members of the air dispersion modeling community to share research, discuss challenges, and network to continue to develop the future of air dispersion modeling. The conference included presentations by EPA Air Quality Modeling Group (AQMG) staff, a town hall style session in which conference attendees could interface directly with AQMG staff and state modelers, and over 35 technical papers on a range of air dispersion modeling-related topics. The articles in this issue of EM represent a cross section of the information presented at A&WMA's specialty conference.

Continue reading the full February 2023 issue of EM.


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