A committee, the AERMIC (American Meteorological Society/Environmental Protection Agency Regulatory Model Improvement Committee), was formed to introduce state-of-the-art modeling concepts into the EPA's local-scale air quality models. The AERMIC's focus was on a new platform for regulatory steady-state plume modeling. This platform would include: (1) air dispersion fundamentally based on planetary boundary layer turbulence structure, scaling and concepts; (2) treatment of both surface and elevated sources; and (3) incorporate simple and complex terrain.

The AERMOD is actually a modeling system with three separate components: AERMOD (AERMIC Dispersion Model), AERMAP (AERMOD Terrain Preprocessor), and AERMET (AERMOD Meteorological Preprocessor).

Special features of AERMOD include its ability to treat the vertical inhomogeneity of the planetary boundary layer special treatment of surface releases, irregularly-shaped area sources, a three plume model for the convective boundary layer, limitation of vertical mixing in the stable boundary layer, and fixing the reflecting surface at the stack base. A treatment of dispersion in the presence of intermediate and complex terrain is used that improves on that currently in use in ISCST and other models, yet without the complexity of the Complex Terrain Dispersion Model-Plus (CTDMPLUS). To the extent practicable, the structure of the input or the control file for AERMOD is the same as that for the ISCST3. At this time, the AERMOD contains the same algorithms for building downwash as those found in the ISCST3 model.

The AERMET is the meteorological preprocessor for the AERMOD. Input data can come from hourly cloud cover observations, surface meteorological observations and twice-a-day upper air soundings. Output includes surface meteorological observations and parameters and vertical profiles of several atmospheric parameters.

The AERMAP is a terrain preprocessor designed to simplify and standardize the input of terrain data for the AERMOD. Input data include receptor terrain elevation data. The terrain data may be in the form of digital terrain data that is available from the U.S. Geological Survey. Output includes, for each receptor, location and height scale which are elevations used for the computation of air flow around hills.

Back to ISC-AERMOD Page.