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A renewed interest and scrutiny of downwash shortcomings has fueled a parallel, yet complementary effort, led by industry and EPA. Industrial groups funded the update to the Plume Rise Model Enhancements (PRIME) formulation in AERMOD based on new equations derived from wind tunnel measurements. Concurrently, EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) conducted research that led to new enhancements to the downwash formulation.2 The new PRIME equations (PRIME2), along with EPA-ORD’s building downwash improvements, have been included as alpha options in an upcoming new EPA version of AERMOD.
As part of the renewed interest in building downwash, the PRIME2 subcommittee under the A&WMA APM committee was formed to: (1) establish a mechanism to review, approve and implement new science into the model for this and future improvements; and (2) provide a technical review forum to improve the PRIME building downwash algorithms. Collaboration and cooperation from EPA’s ORD and OAQPS have been on-going during this research project. These efforts included a downwash summit at EPA’s RTP facilities on February 16, 2018 where representatives of the PRIME2 committee and research funders met with EPA’s ORD and OAQPS staff to discuss the newly developed building downwash improvements. During that meeting it was decided that these enhancements would be included as new alpha options in AERMOD. The intent is that these experimental options will be tested by the user community to create enough justification to transition them to a beta status (approved on a case-by-case basis) and eventually to default options in AERMOD. An evaluation of some of these new downwash options is presented.