AWMA- RMSS-AWMA lunch meeting on Wednesday, September 16 from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Please join us for our next virtual AWMA lunch meeting, where we will discuss “What’s new with Building Downwash in AERMOD?”

The meeting will be heldonline via Microsoft Teams, from 12PM-1PM, on Wednesday, September 16th

If you plan to attend this meeting, please RSVP to Bethany Moffat ( by 11AM on Tuesday, September 15th  to receive instructions on how to attend online.


At the 11th Conference on Air Quality Modeling, Petersen and Guerra (2016) documented several theoretical flaws in PRIME (the building downwash formulation in AERMOD) that likely account for the model overprediction tendency for certain building configurations.  Based on this initial work, an industry funded research study was initiated in late 2016 with the following overall objectives: 1) correct the known problems in the theory; 2) incorporate and advance the current state of science; 3) expand the types of structures that can be accurately handled (e.g., streamlined, porous, long, wide); 4) properly document and verify the model formulation and code for the updated PRIME (referred to as PRIME2); and 5) collaborate with EPA to work toward implementing the improved model. This talk will summarize this ongoing multi-year research project which has led to peer-reviewed journal articles and the inclusion of new research-grade alpha building downwash options in AERMOD_v19191. The alpha building downwash options are enabled by the following keywords: ORD_DWNW and AWMA_DWNW. The first option is based on research led by the EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and the second is based on the PRIME2 research effort funded by an industry group and reviewed by AWMA’s APM committee. Both options have been evaluated against field observations and the recent comparisons with field observations have shown that PRIME2 has better agreement with field observations than the current regulatory version of AERMOD. The model evaluation includes the standard EPA databases (Bowline Point and Alaska North Slope) as well as a new PRCI database for a Gas Compressor Station. Ron and Sergio will talk also about EPA’s potential plans regarding including these improvements in future AERMOD releases.

Presenters Bios:

Dr. Ron Petersen is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and an ASHRAE Fellow with over 40 years of experience using state-of-the-art research findings and wind tunnel modeling to find creative solutions for air quality problems. Ron is currently the President of Petersen Research and Consulting. After 35 years at CPP, Inc., he retired in late 2018 where Ron was a Principal and one of the three founders. CPP provides industry-leading air quality and wind consulting services to architects, industry, and developers around the world. Ron still consults with CPP and they are currently working together on a research project for BOEM to help develop improved dispersion algorithms for off-shore oil and gas platforms and drilling rigs so the OCD model can be replaced by AERMOD. Ron has been an active member of the Atmospheric Modeling and Meteorology Committee (APM) of the A&WMA for over 40 years and has published several peered-reviewed papers on complex dispersion problems for Atmospheric Environment, JAWMA, and JWEIA.

Dr. Sergio Guerra is a Senior Environmental Engineer at GHD with over 18 years of experience in Air Quality. Sergio’s expertise in research, regulations, and consulting gives him a unique insight into the interaction of the theoretical and practical aspects of air quality.  This experience is at the core of his interest in advanced methods to achieve accurate results from regulatory tools such as AERMOD. Dr. Guerra delivers presentations about his research at local and national forums of technical and non-technical audiences. His research has been published in peer reviewed journals such as the EM Magazine, the Journal of Air and Waste Management Association and other conference proceedings. Sergio holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Kansas and currently serves as the Chair of the Atmospheric Modeling and Meteorology Committee (APM) of the A&WMA- one of the most influential technical committees in dispersion modeling.

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