Cities such as Athens, Los Angeles and Mexico are notorious for being highly polluted. So much so, that from time to time, vehicle restrictions and even compulsory shutdown of industries are initiated. With the economy around the world as it is, hampering productivity would need to be scientifically founded. Regional scale air quality models are used to forecast the air pollution which would be used in such circumstances. Air dispersion modelling is a mathematical simulation of how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere. It is used in environmental impact assessments, risk analysis and emergency planning as well as source apportionment studies.

What Is It? 

An atmospheric dispersion model is:

  • a measured simulation of the physics and chemistry controlling the transport, dispersion and transformation of pollutants in the atmosphere; and
  • a way of estimating downwind air pollution concentrations based on information about the pollutant emissions and nature of the atmosphere.

Air pollution modelling is made up of four stages (data input, dispersion calculations, deriving concentrations and analysis). The accuracy and unpredictability of each stage must be known and evaluated to make sure the assessment of the significance of any potential adverse effects is reliable.

Who Needs It? 

Air pollution is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, agricultural activities, exhaust from factories and industries as well as mining operations.

Dispersion modelling can be particularly valuable for evaluating the impacts of discharges from new activities and to approximate likely deviations because of process modifications. The results can also be used for:

  • measuring compliance with the emissions in line with air quality standards
  • developing new facilities
  • determining suitable stack heights
  • determining existing emissions
  • planning ambient air monitoring networks
  • detecting the main contributors to existing air pollution problems
  • predicting pollution episodes
  • calculating the risks of and planning for the management of events such as accidental hazardous substance releases

Gondwana Environmental Solutions

We are committed to providing government, industry and private agencies with innovative and sustainable solutions that monitor, manage and mitigate the required compliance with current and future environmental legislation. For more information about our professional air quality management services, please call +27 11 472 3112, or contact us electronically.