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Fluids 2018, 3(1), 20;

A Review of Methodology for Evaluating the Performance of Atmospheric Transport and Dispersion Models and Suggested Protocol for Providing More Informative Results

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, UK
College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Many models exist for predicting the atmospheric transport and dispersion of material following its release into the atmosphere. The purpose of these models may be to support air quality assessments and/or to predict the hazard resulting from releases of harmful materials to inform emergency response actions. In either case it is essential that the user understands the level of predictive accuracy that might be expected. However, contrary to expectation, this is not easily determined from published comparisons of model predictions against data from dispersion experiments. The paper presents and reviews the methods adopted and issues involved in comparing the predictive performance of atmospheric transport and dispersion models to experimental data, by reference to a number of experimental data sets and comparison results. It then presents an approach which is designed to make the performance of atmospheric dispersion models more transparent, through clearly defining the basis on which the comparison is made, and comparing the performance of the chosen model to that of a reference model. Such an approach establishes a clear baseline against which the accuracy of models can be evaluated and the performance benefits of more sophisticated approaches quantified. The use of a simple analytic reference model applicable to continuous ground level releases in open terrain and urban areas is shown as a proof-of-principle. View Full-Text
Keywords: dispersion model; performance; validation; reference model dispersion model; performance; validation; reference model

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Herring, S.; Huq, P. A Review of Methodology for Evaluating the Performance of Atmospheric Transport and Dispersion Models and Suggested Protocol for Providing More Informative Results. Fluids 2018, 3, 20.

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