3.1.3 Use of AERSURFACE for determining surface characteristics (01/09/08)
EPA has developed a tool called AERSURFACE (EPA, 2008) that can be used as an aid in
determining realistic and reproducible surface characteristic values, including albedo, Bowen
ratio, and surface roughness length, for input to AERMET, the meteorological processor for
AERMOD. The current version of AERSURFACE supports the use of land cover data from the
USGS National Land Cover Data 1992 archives (NLCD92). The NLCD92 archive provides
land cover data at a spatial resolution of 30 meters based on a 21-category classification scheme
applied consistently over the continental U.S. AERSURFACE incorporates look-up tables of
representative surface characteristic values by land cover category and seasonal category.
Further details regarding application of the AERSURFACE tool are provided in the
AERSURFACE User’s Guide (EPA, 2008).
The AERSURFACE tool incorporates the recommended methods for determining surface
characteristics from digitized land cover data described in Section 3.1.2. While the
AERSURFACE tool is not currently considered to be part of the AERMOD regulatory modeling
system, i.e. the use of AERSURFACE is not required for regulatory applications of AERMOD,
the recommended methodology described in Section 3.1.2 should be followed unless case-bycase
justification can be provided for an alternative method.
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