Our easy-to-use air pollution model can be used anywhere in the world to assess the pathway of pollutants in the atmosphere.

The Challenge

Monitoring air quality in urban and regional areas

Managing the impact of air pollution on the environment and on human health requires a realistic assessment of air pollutant dispersal.  Sophisticated air-quality monitoring based on the latest science is critical for useful assessments by environmental agencies and air pollution consultants.

Steam rises from an industrial chimney

Our Response

An accurate and easy-to-use air pollution model

We developed a software package, known as The Air Pollution Model (TAPM), to assess the spread and impact of air pollution.

TAPM is a user-friendly, PC-based model that assesses the likely pathway that pollutants will take as they disperse through the atmosphere. It incorporates the latest advances in air pollution science, gained through theoretical studies, laboratory experiments and field measurements.

This versatile tool can be applied to any location in the world because it predicts all of the required local meteorology, using global terrain and land-use data as well as global synoptic analyses.

The model can be used to predict meteorological and air pollution parameters on inter-regional, city, or local scales, for simulation periods from a day to a year or more.

Unlike many air pollution models, it can be applied to coastal and mountainous areas, which have presented great difficulties for environmental researchers in the past.

TAPM features

The Air Pollution Model features:

  • graphical user interface
  • predictions of winds, temperature, pressure, water vapour, cloud and rain water as well as many other meteorological parameters
  • tracer mode, dust mode (PM2.5, PM10, PM20, PM30) or multiple pollutant mode (PM2.5, PM10, NOX, NO2, O3 and SO2)
  • incorporation of plume rise, building wake effects, photochemistry, aqueous chemistry, and wet and dry deposition.

Model outputs

TAPM can provide output in a variety of formats:

  • prediction of hourly meteorology and air pollution concentrations
  • various options for visualisation
  • easy extraction of time-series (including common meteorological file formats required by regulatory air pollution models)
  • production of static one-dimensional and two-dimensional plots and summary statistics using common packages.

The Results

Accessible air pollution monitoring

TAPM helps environmental agencies and air pollution consultants assess air quality in urban and regional areas. It is used under licence by more than 240 national and international users in 28 countries.

Copies of TAPM software and synoptic analyses for various regions can be purchased through CSIRO. Training is available through the Clean Air Society of Australia & New Zealand (CASANZ) .

Licensing information

Companies and individuals may use TAPM under licence from CSIRO. TAPM is provided as executable code, which will run under the Windows operating system, along with default global terrain and land use databases and two years of synoptic reanalyses.

Companies and individuals may also use CTM (option for applications requiring more complex chemistry) and CCAM-T (option for atmospheric forecasting applications) under licence from CSIRO.


  • Graphical User Interface for model setup
  • TAPM executable code
  • 2 years of meteorological analyses
  • Global Terrain (1 km resolution)
  • Global Land use (1 km resolution)
  • Sea surface temperatures (climatological monthly means)
  • All necessary documentation.

Technical information

Model science and options–meteorology:

  • 3-D Eulerian grid, nestable
  • incompressible and optionally non-hydrostatic
  • predicts winds, temperature, pressure, water vapour, cloud water/ice, rain, snow
  • prognostic turbulence scheme
  • surface scheme for soil, vegetation and urban categories
  • cloud microphysics scheme
  • radiation scheme
  • wind data assimilation option
  • user-defined databases option, including for terrain, land use, soil type, synoptic analyses/forecasts
  • option to run TAPM nested within CSIRO’s Conformal Cubic Atmospheric Model (CCAM-T) for forecasting applications (a separate licence is required for CCAM-T).

Model science and options–air pollution:

  • 3-D Eulerian, nestable
  • emissions from point, line, area/volume or gridded sources
  • tracer mode (up to four tracer groups)
  • multiple pollutant mode (PM10, PM2.5, NOX, NO2, O3, SO2)
  • dust module (PM30, PM20, PM10, PM2.5)
  • Lagrangian particle module (point sources)
  • advanced plume rise module
  • building wake module (all emission source types)
  • photochemistry (generic reaction set)
  • aqueous chemistry
  • wet and dry deposition
  • particle gravitational settling
  • optional hourly-varying background concentration optional concentration variancespeak-to-mean ratio parameterisation using concentration mean and variance
  • optional 3-D concentration output
  • optional offline-pollution mode to allow pollution to be run from saved meteorology, either for all grids (nested) or for only the inner-most grid in several modes
  • option to configure and run CSIRO’s Chemical Transport Model (CTM) for urban airshed applications that may require more complex chemistry (e.g. LCC or Carbon Bond) (a separate licence is required for the CTM).

TAPM has been verified for a number of regions in Australia and overseas. CSIRO has verified the model in a number of industrial and urban regions throughout Australia, as well as for Kincaid and Indianapolis (USA) international tracer datasets and several standard annual dispersion datasets.


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