Dispersion Modeling Guidance for Airports Addressing Local Air Quality Health Concerns

Airport practitioners use the Emissions and Dispersion Modeling System (EDMS), soon to be incorporated into the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT), for modeling local air quality. EDMS, the required regulatory emissions and dispersion model for U.S. airports, employs the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) AERMOD dispersion model, a Gaussian plume model (concentrations are typically 1-hour averages). AERMOD is typically used to model dispersion from point and area sources (e.g., power plants, industrial activities) and is used to assess local air quality impacts. In recent years, airports have been asked to address public health issues regarding airport activity, which could benefit from the use of high-fidelity, time-varying dispersion models such as CALPUFF, SCIPUFF/SCICHEM, and LASAT, which, in addition to their higher resolution, provide additional chemical transformation mechanisms and recirculation effects not included in AERMOD. However, there is no established process for modeling airport sources with these models, which has led to inconsistent practices. Research is needed to provide guidance for airport practitioners in selecting and utilizing dispersion models to address local air quality health concerns. The objective of this research is to provide guidance for airport practitioners in selecting and utilizing dispersion models to address local air quality health concerns. The guidance should provide, at a minimum: (1) A process to confirm whether dispersion modeling is appropriate for a particular study involving airport activity; (2) Suggestions for selecting the most appropriate dispersion model (e.g., AERMOD, CALPUFF, SCIPUFF/SCICHEM, LASAT) for a particular study based on model capabilities and limitations, data requirements unique to airports, pollutant(s) of concern, resource availability, and output requirements; (3) Airport case study examples of how dispersions models were used to address local air quality health concerns; (4) A list of airport activity data sources for model inputs; and (5) Method(s) for representing the spatial and temporal variance of airport emission sources (e.g., aircraft, GSE, stationary sources, landside vehicles) in dispersion models by operating mode.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $399999
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 02-58

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Navarrete, Joseph

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    910 Raleigh Rd  
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27517-9100
  • Principal Investigators:

    Arunachalam, Saravanan

  • Start Date: 20140610
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170731
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37676

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543548
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 02-58
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 18 2014 1:02AM