Industrial emission point sources
The ADMS atmospheric dispersion modeling system is an advanced air pollution dispersion model[1][2][3] for calculating the concentrations of air pollutants emitted continuously from point, line, volume and area sources, or intermittently from point sources.

ADMS was developed by Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) of the United Kingdom (UK) in collaboration with the UK's Met Office, National Power (now RWE npower) and the University of Surrey. The first version was released in 1993 and the latest version (ADMS 5) was released in April 2013.[4]

The ADMS suite of models

Currently, ADMS is comprised of a suite of models:[5]
  • ADMS 5: Modeling the dispersion of industrial air pollution emissions.
  • ADMS-Urban: Managing air quality for urban planning and reviews.
  • ADMS-Roads: Modeling the dispersion of air pollutant emissions from road traffic.
  • ADMS-Airport: Modeling the dispersion of air pollutant emissions from airplane traffic at airports.
  • ADMS-Screen: Screening model for industrial air pollution emissions.
  • ADMS-STAR: Modeling the dispersion of short-term accidental radioactive releases.
  • ADMS-Fire: Modeling the dispersion and deposition of air pollution from fires.

Typical applications

ADMS 5 is the primary tool used for modeling of the environmental impact of air pollution emissions from existing or proposed industrial facilities. It can also be used to assess air quality with respect to the air quality standards such as the European Union Air Quality Directive, the UK Air Quality Strategy, the U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the Chinese Class I, II and III Air Quality Standards, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines.

Some typical applications are:
  • Demonstrating compliance with the UK Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulations.
  • Emission stack height determination.
  • Odor modeling.
  • Environmental impact assessments.
  • Safety and emergency planning.

Features and capabilities

ADMS 5 is a new generation Gaussian air pollution dispersion model which characterizes the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) by two parameters, namely the boundary layer depth and the Monin-Obukov length, rather than the single parameter Pasquill-Gifford class.[6]

Some of the key features of ADMS 5 are:[6]
  • Model options: ADMS 5 has a number of model options including: dry and wet deposition; NOx chemistry; impacts of hills, variable roughness, buildings and coastlines; puffs; fluctuations; odors; radioactivity decay (and γ-ray dose); condensed plume visibility; time varying sources and inclusion of background concentrations.
  • Meteorological pre-processor: ADMS 5 has an in-built meteorological pre-processor that allows flexible input of meteorological data. Hourly sequential and statistical data can be processed, and all input and output meteorological variables are written to a file after processing.
  • User-defined outputs: The user defines the pollutant, averaging time (which may be an annual average or a shorter period), which percentiles and exceedance values to calculate, whether or not a rolling average is required and the output dimensional units. The output options are designed to be flexible to cater for the variety of air quality limits which vary from country to country, and are subject to revision.
  • Visualization: ADMS 5 includes the ADMS Mapper: an integrated mapping tool for displaying and editing source data, buildings and receptor locations as well as viewing results. The model has links to a contour-plotting package, in addition to ArcGIS and MapInfo Professional Geographical Information System (GIS) software. The GIS links can be used to enter and display input data, and display output, usually as color contour plots.
  • Terrain converter: Utilities are available for creating terrain files for Britain, France, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The performance of the model has been validated against more than 15 measured dispersion data sets.[7]

Users of the ADMS suite of models

The users of ADMS include:
  • The UK Environment Agency of England and Wales
  • Other UK governmental regulatory authorities including the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the UK Food Standards Agency
  • Over 130 individual company license holders in the UK
  • The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Users in other European countries, Asia, Australia and the Middle East
  • Accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) as an "Alternative" model[8]


  1. D.B. Turner (1995), Workbook of Atmospheric Dispersion Estimates, 2nd Edition, CRC Press, ISBN 1-56670-023-X.
  2. M.R. Beychok (2005), Fundamentals of Stack Gas Dispersion, 4th Edition, self-published, ISBN 0-9644588-0-2.
  3. K.B. Schnelle and P.R. Dey (2000) Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling Compliance Guide, 1st Edition, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-058059-6.
  4. What's New in ADMS 5? April 2013 (From the CERC website)
  5. Environmental software (From the CERC website)
  6. Technical specifications (From the CERC website)
  7. Validation Studies (From the CERC website)
  8. Alternative Models (From the U.S. EPA website)