pre-processor (AERMAP) both characterizes the terrain, and generates receptor grids for the

dispersion model (AERMOD).

AERMET uses meteorological data and surface characteristics to calculate boundary layer

parameters (e.g. mixing height, friction velocity, etc.) needed by AERMOD. This data, whether

measured off-site or on-site, must be representative of the meteorology in the modeling domain.

AERMAP uses gridded terrain data for the modeling area to calculate a representative

terrain-influence height associated with each receptor location. The gridded data is supplied to

AERMAP in the format of the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data (USGS 1994). The terrain

preprocessor can also be used to compute elevations for both discrete receptors and receptor


In developing AERMOD, AERMIC adopted design criteria to yield a model with desirable

regulatory attributes. It was felt that the model should: 1) provide reasonable concentration

estimates under a wide variety of conditions with minimal discontinuities; 2) be user friendly and

require reasonable input data and computer resources as is the case with the ISC3 model; 3)

capture the essential physical processes while remaining fundamentally simple; and, 4)

accommodate modifications with ease as the science evolves.

Relative to ISC3, AERMOD currently contains new or improved algorithms for: 1)

dispersion in both the convective and stable boundary layers; 2) plume rise and buoyancy; 3)

plume penetration into elevated inversions; 4) computation of vertical profiles of wind,

turbulence, and temperature; 5) the urban nighttime boundary layer; 6) the treatment of receptors

on all types of terrain from the surface up to and above the plume height; 7) the treatment of

building wake effects; 8) an improved approach for characterizing the fundamental boundary

layer parameters; and 9) the treatment of plume meander.


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