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Dispersion Modeling Guidelines & Data

Information about Dispersion Modeling Guidelines and Data.

How We Use Air Quality Models

Air quality models can be used in the air quality permitting process to verify that a new stationary or portable source will not exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) or New Mexico Air Quality Standards (NMAAQS) for criteria air pollutants. All PDF and ZIP files can be downloaded by clicking with the right mouse button and selecting "save target as".

Air quality models use mathematical and numerical techniques to simulate the physical and chemical processes that affect air pollutants as they disperse and react in the atmosphere. Based on inputs of meteorological data, source information (i.e. emission rates, stack height, exit gas temperatures, flows, and velocity, air dispersion models can characterize primary pollutants (i.e. oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, fine and course particulate matter) that are directly emitted into the atmosphere and secondary pollutants (ozone) that are formed from complex chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

Effective November 9, 2006, the new dispersion model AERMOD replaces the Industrial Source Complex (ISC3) model - see guideline below. AERMOD applies to complex terrain, and incorporates a new downwash algorithm, PRIME (Wednesday November 9, 2005 Federal Register; Environmental Protection Agency 40 CFR Part 51 “Revision to the Guideline on Air Quality Models: Adoption of a Preferred General Purpose (Flat and Complex Terrain) Dispersion Model and Other Revisions; FINAL RULE”).

Air Dispersion Modeling Guidelines and Technical Documentation

NOTE: The City of Albuquerque Air Quality Program (Program) requires that facilities going through the air quality permit application process that are required to submit air quality dispersion models, submit an air dispersion modeling (ADM) protocol prior to submitting the application.  The ADM protocol should include the information listed in Attachment B – Protocol Review Checklist, which can be found in the most recent version of the Air Dispersion Modeling Guidelines.

The Program will review ADM protocol submitted and the Program will:  (1) approve the protocol as submitted; or (2) approve the protocol and provide comments and/or recommendations; or (3) not accept the protocol and provide comments.  When the ADM protocol is not accepted, the ADM protocol will have to be resubmitted to the Program for review.  As of May 7, 2020, the Program will only review two versions of a modeling protocol submitted for a given project. After the second review of a protocol for the same permit application, the company and/or consultant, will be asked to submit the full application and modeling/modeling report.  

The intent of the protocol is to minimize the odds of a model being rejected during the review. However, the Program’s approval of a protocol does not guarantee that every potential problem has been identified or that the modeling will be accepted. Once a protocol has been approved or even if the second version is not accepted, it is still the responsibility of the company to submit a model with sound modeling methodologies and proper inputs. The Program reserves the right to revoke or amend approval of a protocol during the modeling review if facts and circumstances warrant such action.

AERMOD Meteorological Data

KABQ Airport 2014-2018 (AERMET v23132) and Ozone Data - METDATA

Terrain Data for Air Dispersion Modeling

Per the AERMAP User’s Guide, please use USGS National Elevation Dataset (NED) data files with AERMAP to calculate elevations for receptors, sources, buildings, etc.

Please use the NED terrain files below. The provided NED files are 1 arc-second (30m) resolution, have been processed and are ready for use in AERMAP/AERMOD.

These two files are most commonly needed:



These files may be needed for very large modeling domains or locations closer to the edge of the county: