METEO 455 – Atmospheric Dispersion

Instructor: Livia Freire• Class schedule: M W F 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, 101 Walker Bldg

Meteo 455 – Atmospheric Dispersion
Spring 2016 – Syllabus

Livia Freire
January 11, 2016

General Information

  • Instructor: Livia Freire
    Office: 412 Walker Bldg
    Class schedule: M W F 10:10 AM - 11:00 AM, 101 Walker Bldg
  • Office hours: TBD or by appointment

Course content

Students will learn both the theory and current practice of numerical modeling of the turbulent dispersion of effluents from sources in the atmospheric boundary layer.

Lab sessions involve hands-on experience with the numerical models used in the applied dispersion community (AERSCREEN and AERMOD, U.S. EPA’s regulatory model) and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Classroom sessions cover the boundary-layer meteorology and dispersion theory on which these models are based, including:

  • the atmospheric boundary layer
  • turbulence
  • fluxes and conservation of mass in fluid motion
  • energy budget, buoyancy, stability and their influence on the atmospheric boundary layer
  • turbulent and molecular fluxes and their roles in atmospheric dispersion

Course Material

There is no textbook for this course. All material required will be available in class, including reading assignments.

Course evaluation

  • 4 Homeworks + 7 Lab reports = 70%
  • 1 Midterm = 30%

List of recommended references

These are some useful references for the course. The reading assignments will be extracted from them. You are not required to have any of the books.

  • Air pollution meteorology and dispersion - S. Pal Arya
  • Fundamentals of stack gas dispersion - M. R. Beychok
  • An introduction to boundary layer meteorology - R. B. Stull
  • Turbulence and diffusion in the atmosphere - A. K. Blackadar
  • Lectures on air pollution modeling - A. Venkatram and J. C. Wyngaard
  • Atmospheric diffusion - F. Pasquill
  • Atmospheric chemistry and physics: from air pollution to climate change - Seinfeld and Pandis
  • Turbulent diffusion in the environment - G. T. Csanady
  • Boundary layer climates - T. R. Oke
  • The atmospheric boundary layer - J. R. Garratt
  • Mixing in Inland and coastal waters - H. B. Fischer et al.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website - 

Academic integrity

This course follows the guidelines for academic integrity of Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Penn State defines academic integrity as “the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner.” Academic integrity includes “a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception.” In particular, the University defines plagiarism as “the fabrication of information and citations; submitting other’s work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other student’s papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one’s own.” Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State’s “Plagiarism Tutorial for Students”.

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Disability Services (ODS) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus: ( For further information, please visit the Office for Disability Services website.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation based on the documentation guidelines ( If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.


This course abides by the Penn State Attendance Policy E-11:
Class attendance policy:
Undergraduate students examination guidelines.
Please also see Illness Verification Policy: Student Affairs Health policy, and Religious Observance Policy. Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes. Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, family emergencies, and regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities. Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of Student and Family Services for help: Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form available from the Registrar’s Office:, at least one week prior to the activity.

Weather Delays

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