More information on:
Previous conferences: Information and proceedings
Conference in Bologna, Italy, October 2017
Conference in Budapest, Hungary, May 2016
Conference in Varna, Bulgaria, September 2014
Conference in Madrid, Spain 2013
Model Validation Kit
Related activities and tools
John Irwin's data archive
Home page of the initiative on Harmonisation within Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling for Regulatory Purposes.
The current page gives a brief description of activities etc. For more thorough information, follow the links.
Background of the initiative
In 1991, a European initiative was launched for increased cooperation and standardisation of atmospheric dispersion models for regulatory purposes. A "new generation" of models is emerging with physically more justifiable parametrisations of dispersion processes. A need was felt for these new models to be developed in a well-organized manner and turned into practical, generally accepted tools fit for the various needs of decision-makers. On this background it was decided to organize a series of workshops to promote the use of new-generation models within atmospheric dispersion modelling, and in general improve "modelling culture". The subsequent activities have now been going on for more than 20 years, and have developed to a series of succesful international conferences.
One of the ideas behind the initiative is to make the most of the knowledge available in the modelling community. A lot of experiences with use of models are acquired over time, but there is a lack of proper mechanisms to transfer these experiences so that they are used in modelling and in the decision making process. One of the roles of the initiative is to help establish such mechanisms. Thus, the series of conferences can be said to deal with improvement of "modelling culture" in Europe.
Two topics are very central to the conferences:
There are many aspects of this such as: ensuring that models are scientifically sound; model validation; guidance to ensure proper use of models; promotion of good practices and elimination of bad practices; quality assurance with respect to model development; establishment of reference problems; comparability of input and output; ensuring proper exchange of experiences.
For more background information see: "Ten years of Harmonisation activities: Past, present and future" (paper presented at the 7th Harmonisation conference in May 2001).
Other useful information can for instance be found in the paper Improving modelling culture: Obstacles and opportunities (pdf, 150 kB), which gives various practical advice on resources, which modellers can benefit from in their daily work. It was presented by the chairman of the Harmonisation initiative, Helge Olesen, at the 14th conference in 2011.
The initiative is managed by a steering committee.
Workshops and conferences
One central activity of the initiative is a series of workshops and conferences.
Information on each of the meetings since 1992 is available through
the overview page:
Information is provided on availability of conference papers in various forms (extended abstract, PowerPoint presentations, and journal papers).
For all conferences since 2000, extended abstracts etc. are freely available on-line .
International conference in Bologna, Italy (2017)
The next conference - the 18th International conference on
Harmonisation within Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling for
Regulatory Purposes - will take place in Bologna, Italy, October 9-12, 2017.
"Model Validation Kit"
A central activity of the "Harmonisation" initiative, closely related to the conferences, is the distribution of the so-called Model Validation Kit.
The Model Validation Kit is intended to be used for evaluation of atmospheric dispersion models.
It addresses the classic problem of dispersion from a single point source.
During the series of Harmonisation conferences, many papers have referred to the Kit. The package was updated to Version 2.0 in October 2005.
An ASTM standard guide on model evaluation was published in November 2000. It represents an alternative approach to that of the Model Validation Kit. More info...
Activities related to the initiative. Tools for dispersion modelling.
You will find an annotated list of activities and tools which are somehow related to the initiative (e.g.
the wiki on Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling, the e-mail discussion list Atmospheric Dispersion, the Model Documentation System, FAIRMODE, various COST actions, the
web site Datasets for Atmospheric Modelling, a tool for model intercomparison etc. on a separate page:
Also note that in a presentation for the 16th Harmonisation conference (September 2014) the chairman of the Harmonisation initiative, Helge Olesen, gave various practical advice on resources, which modellers can benefit from in their daily work>. These resources include Google Scholar, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, YouTube. See the paper: Web-based tools for air pollution modellers (pdf, 150 kB;