Air quality modeling

Satellite image showing high cloud cover over northern Minnesota.

Air quality dispersion modeling uses computer simulation to predict air quality concentrations from various types of emission sources. For pollutants emitted through a stack, it considers the emission rate, stack height, stack diameter, and stack gas temperature and velocity, as well as the effect of nearby buildings and terrain. Other emission sources like vehicle traffic or wind erosion from storage piles are represented as 2-dimensional area sources or 3-dimensional volume sources.

Air quality dispersion models use meteorological data such as temperature, wind direction, and wind speed to calculate concentrations. Modeling is often used to predict potential impacts on air quality from new or modifying emission sources. Model predicted concentrations are compared with the national and state ambient air quality standards to ensure protection of Minnesota’s air quality in light of potential future emissions. Modeling can also be used to site ambient air monitors and inform human health and ecological risk assessments.

Air Modeling e-Service

Air modeling protocols and modeling information requests should be entered and submitted directly to the Risk Evaluation and Air Modeling Unit through the air modeling e-Service. For more information on setting up an e-Service account, getting access to a facility in e-Services and to determine what data you’ll need to have ready for an Air Modeling e-Service submission, visit the following webpages:

Any questions about the Air Modeling e-Service should be sent to airmodeling.pca@state.mn.us.

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