B.C. Air Quality

Meteorological Modelling

Computers can be used to solve equations that describe the current and expected behaviour of the atmosphere, and to produce current and forecast meteorological information over large geographic areas.

These sets of equations are called "meteorological models" and typically require powerful computers to produce output on winds, temperature, and precipitation at different locations and vertical levels in the atmosphere. Such models account for the effects of topography, oceans and global circulation patterns.

Observations of meteorological conditions are taken at specific locations across the province, and around the world. Due to the complex topography in British Columbia and the large distances between observation sites, determining the precise meteorological conditions for areas where there are no observations is nearly impossible.

However, by applying a meteorological model, the conditions at any location can be estimated. In addition, more sophisticated versions of these models can forecast the weather for any location and such tools are used to produce weather forecasts that are relied upon by the public and private sector.

From an air quality perspective, the meteorology determines the transport and dispersion of pollutants. Thus these meteorological models can be used to help estimate the current and forecast location and concentrations of pollutants that result from emission sources. In other words, the output from these models can be a critical input into dispersion models.

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