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Regional Air Quality Modeling Program

A core component of assembling the analytical framework discussed above involves developing expertise in processing emissions inventory data and simulating ambient air quality concentrations, atmospheric deposition, and visibility impacts using a variety of chemical transport models. The figure below demonstrates the core capacity in place at NESCAUM with regard to the use of various modeling tools.

Figure 1: Regional Air Quality Modeling Program
Regional Air Quality Modeling Program

Through our MANE-VU partnership, NESCAUM has access to regional emissions inventories from our own region, as well as the most up-to-date estimates of emissions across the country. We process these inventories through the Sparse Matrix Operating Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) processing system to spatially and temporally allocate emissions for proper input into two different regional air quality models.

Meteorological inputs have been developed using the Meteorological Model version 5 (MM5) developed by the University of Maryland's Regional Atmospheric Measurement, Modeling and Prediction Program (RAMMMP).

These inputs are utilized by both the REgulatory Modeling System for Acid Deposition (REMSAD) and the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) Models which were developed and supported by the U.S. EPA. To calculate the direct effect of various policies on ambient concentrations of pollutants such as ground-level ozone (smog), fine particles (PM2.5) and atmospheric mercury. These models are also capable of calculating wet and dry deposition of acid precursor or mercury pollution as well as visibility impairment resulting from fine particles. The REMSAD model contains a sulfate, nitrate and mercury accounting framework which allows for source attribution studies. The CMAQ model can be run with Dynamic Decoupled Method (DDM) modules that allow it to determine the sensitivity of ambient concentrations to a variety of input parameters (e.g., precursor species concentration or overall emissions from a specific geographic region).

Current NESCAUM projects that are using these modeling tools include:

  • MANE-VU regional haze modeling
  • Atmospheric Mercury Fate and Transport Modeling

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