Dr. Akula Venkatram: Modeling Dispersion in the Surface Boundary Layer: Air Quality Impact of Vehicle Emissions and Estimating Methane Emissions from Dairies

Modeling Dispersion in the Surface Boundary Layer: Air Quality Impact of Vehicle Emissions and Estimating Methane Emissions from Dairies

Date: TBD   - Hosted by Dean Mark Matsumoto


This talk is based on the research my collaborators, my students and I have conducted over the past ten years. I will first provide a brief description of studies that have led to our current understanding of dispersion of material released near the ground into the atmosphere. The early tracer experiments were conducted in the 1950s, and the resulting data were used to formulate the purely empirical dispersion curves that are still being used to estimate concentrations associated with near ground pollutant emissions. In the 1970s, advances in the micrometeorology of the surface boundary layer led to the development of the theory that provided a mechanistic interpretation of the data from field experiments. I will explain this theoretical foundation, and show how it has been incorporated into dispersion models in current use.

In the second part of the talk, I will describe two applications of these dispersion models. The first is motivated by the need for reliable models that can be used to estimate the impact of vehicle emissions on the health of people living close to highways. These models, which are based on understanding of dispersion in the surface boundary layer, include methods to account for the effects of roadside barriers and road depressions, which mitigate the near-road impact of vehicle emissions. I will next discuss the application of dispersion models to estimating emissions of methane, a major greenhouse gas, from waste lagoons located in dairies. I will present some results from a field study and show how surface dispersion models are used to infer these emissions from methane concentrations measured around a waste lagoon.



Dr. Akula Venkatram

Dr. Akula Venkatram is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, California, USA. His research is focused on the development and the application of models for the transport and dispersion of air pollutants over urban and regional scales. Dr. Venkatram co-edited and contributed to the “Lectures on Air Pollution Modeling” published by the American Meteorological Society. He was member of the team that developed AERMOD, and was a principal contributor to RLINE, the USEPA model for line sources. He is the recipient of the inaugural award from the AMS Committee on Meteorological Aspects of Air Pollution for “contributions to the field of air pollution meteorology through the development of simple models in acid deposition, ozone photochemistry and urban dispersion”. His research on modeling the air quality impact of transport related emissions was recognized in 2010 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, through a Scientific and Technological Achievement Award for “expanding and improving the scientific and regulatory communities’ ability to assess the impacts of mobile source emissions”. His research on this topic is summarized in the book “Urban Transportation and Air Pollution”

Check the book “Urban Transportation and Air Pollution” on amazon.com/Urban-Transportation-Pollution

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Graduate Funding:
Phone: (209) 228-4622
General Inquiries:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Fax: (209) 228-6906
Mailing Address:
University of California, Merced
ATTN: Graduate Division
5200 N. Lake Road, SSB 310
Merced, CA 95343


University of California, Merced
The first new American research
university in the 21st century, with a
mission of research, teaching and service.
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
T: (209) 228-4400
University of California
Go to top