Expanding the use of the NAME Atmospheric Dispersion Model through centralised deployment on JASMIN

What is the NAME model?

The Met Office Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) is a Lagrangian particle model (Jones et al., 2007) that is used to simulate a wide range of atmospheric dispersion events, including nuclear accidents, volcanic eruptions, chemical accidents, smoke from fires and airborne animal disease vectors. NAME is a sophisticated tool capable of simulating many atmospheric dispersion phenomena and associated physical and chemical processes. NAME can be run in both forward and inverse (source identification) modes. In inverse mode the model is used to investigate emissions of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric pollutants. The model is used for research activities and for emergency response air pollution modelling. It has been used for several NCAS long term measurements and campaigns to interpret atmospheric composition according to air mass types (Fleming et al., 2012). NAME typically uses input Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) meteorology data from the Met Office Unified Model and archived global and UK met data are available for historic studies.

Community Requirements & Drivers

The NAME model has been used by many research groups around the UK and in the NCAS community for a number of years. The demand for an accurate tool for assessing the pathways of air masses to atmospheric monitoring stations has been growing as simple trajectory models are now seen as being superseded by dispersion models. However, running dispersion models such as NAME can be intensive in terms of both computing and storage requirements. The Met Office recognises the demand for dispersion model capabilities both within NCAS and wider collaborations within the UK community and it would like to increase collaborations with the community through the use of the model.


What are the benefits of putting NAME on JASMIN?

  1. Accessibility

The JASMIN platform is available to UK researchers working in a range of fields. This includes login access for analysis, storage and compute. The NAME-on-JASMIN community tool can therefore be opened up to a large user community without the need to port the software and data to new sites. Use of the newly installed high-speed Internet link between JASMIN and the Met Office allows Terabytes of input data to be copied to JASMIN in order to support a full suite of NAME simulations.

  1. Co-location

Once logged into JASMIN, the NCAS BADC and CEMS Academic (NEODC) archives are located on the same infrastructure. Additionally, large shared disks for specific projects, known as “Group Workspaces”, are also held on the same high-performance storage platform. Computing and storage resources being co-located allows scientists to work without the hindrance of large data transfer. The NAME service has a 20 Terabyte Group Workspace that is used to hold the Meteorological input data as well as the outputs generated by the model.

  1. Scalability

NAME-on-JASMIN is currently installed on 2 production virtual machines. The resource is controlled by job queues to manage the load and ensure a fair share of access to users. The JASMIN platform’s virtualisation technology allows rapid expansion of computing power as required. Furthermore, the LOTUS compute cluster is available should the resource require significantly larger jobs to be managed.

  1. Flexibility

Unlike many providers of computing resource, STFC CEDA has taken the bold decision of providing root access to external trusted users. This allows the Met Office Atmospheric Dispersion Team and other collaborators to select an Operating System of choice, install and configure the software and dependencies with minimum overhead. Documented and scripted software builds allow fast cloning of software environments.

  1. Collaboration and sharing

Since JASMIN logins can be widely available, the Met Office can use this service to support a wider community of NAME users and collaborators. Additionally, some external developments of the NAME model may be undertaken on the JASMIN platform. Users running NAME will be able to generate graphical outputs for the BADC archive to enable dissemination to a much larger community. Plans to develop a web-tool, built on the CEDA Web Processing Service (WPS), will enable fixed configurations of NAME to be run through a browser. Generation of air mass trajectories will be an early candidate for this service.

Successes so far

The NAME-on-JASMIN service was opened up to users in early 2014. Various scientists have begun to use NAME on the platform: benefiting from access to around 20Tbytes of input weather model data allowing runs at various resolutions and location.

The GAUGE project, looking at greenhouse gas emissions estimates for the UK, was able to use NAME on JASMIN with near real-time forecasts for a limited period to support the flights of the FAAM BAe 146 research aircraft. Data was transferred from the Met Office after each generation of new forecasts and then NAME was run each day via a scheduler to produce predictions of air mass trajectories over the next few days.


                  A Carbon-14 emission forecast generated by NAME on JASMIN.


The future

More scientists are being invited on to the platform to run NAME rather than trying to support collaborations at multiple sites. Additionally, the centralised service is generating new interest.

A prototype version of the web-tool is being developed at NCAS BADC to allow users to run NAME trajectories via a web browser.

References and links

Jones A.R., Thomson D.J., Hort M. & Devenish B. (2007). The U.K. Met Office's next-generation atmospheric dispersion model, NAME III. In Borrego C. and Norman A.-L. (Eds), Springer, pp. 580-589, 2007. NAME web site) Air Pollution Modeling and its Application XVII (Proceedings of the 27th NATO/CCMS International Technical Meeting on Air Pollution Modelling and its Application).

Z. L Fleming, P. S Monks, A. J Manning: Review: Untangling the influence of air-mass history in interpreting observed atmospheric composition. Atmospheric Research, 104-105, 1-39, 2012.

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