CERC — Environmental Software and Services

Model validation

CERC models are continually validated against available measured data obtained from real world situations, field campaigns and wind tunnel experiments.

Validation of the ADMS dispersion models has been performed using many experimental datasets that test different aspects of the models, for instance: ground/high level sources, passive and buoyant releases, buildings, complex terrain, chemistry, deposition and plume visibility. These studies are both short-term as well as annual, and involve tracer gases or specific pollutants of interest.

Image of Validation of ADMS-Urban 3.1 using the US EPA Idaho Falls dataset

Frequency scatter plot created using the Model Evaluation Toolkit showing ADMS-Urban 3.1 model results for the US EPA Idaho Falls dataset

The ADMS 6 validation documents, which describe comparisons with field campaigns and wind tunnel experiments, also validate many of the features of the urban air dispersion models ADMS-Urban, ADMS-Roads and ADMS-Airport, as the underlying ADMS scientific model code is shared. The urban air dispersion models are most commonly validated in real-world situations where there is significant uncertainty in the model inputs, although papers describing direct validation of dispersion from ‘road’ and ‘aircraft’ emission sources are also given below. For an overview of validation of the urban models, see this summary (.pdf).

The documents below have been categorised according to model, with the ADMS 6 industrial source validation documents listed separately from the ADMS-Urban, ADMS-Roads and ADMS-Airport validation documents. In addition to the ‘General model validation’ sections, which list papers that describe the comparison of model output with measured data, the urban family of models have the following sections:

  • Local Air Quality Management, which lists example CERC project reports covering topics including source apportionment and emission reduction scenario modelling;
  • Policy, which covers the use of ADMS-Urban in regulatory applications; and
  • Airports, which gives papers specifically related to the ADMS-Airport model.

All the ADMS dispersion models and FLOWSTAR-Energy share the same underlying scientific model code for the calculation of flow and turbulence over complex terrain; this is validated in the documents listed below under ‘Flow field’.

For full list of CERC publications go to www.cerc.co.uk/environmental-software/publications.html.

Most online documents are in Portable Document Format (.pdf)—please download Adobe logo Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files if necessary.


General model validation

  • Buildings
  • Buildings & complex terrain
  • Complex terrain
  • Flat terrain
    • CERC,2023:Kincaid, Indianapolis and Prairie Grass experiments.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Flowfield
    • CERC,2023:ADMS 6 Complex Terrain Flowfield Validation: Askervein Hill.(.pdf, <1MB)
    • CERC,2023:ADMS 6 Complex Terrain Flowfield Validation: Blashaval.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • NOx chemistry
    • Smith, S. et al.,2017:Model inter-comparison and validation of ADMS plume chemistry schemes.Article online

ADMS-Urban, ADMS-Urban RML, ADMS-Roads and ADMS-Airport


  • CERC,2015:ADMS-Urban model evaluation summary.(.pdf, <1MB)

General model validation

  • Hood, C. et al.,2018:Air quality simulations for London using a coupled regional-to-local modelling system.Article online
  • Hood, C. et al.,2014:Urban canopy flow field and advanced street canyon modelling in ADMS-Urban.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Stocker, J. et al.,2014:The development and evaluation of an automated system for nesting ADMS-Urban in regional photochemical models.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Stocker, J. et al.,2013:Road source model intercomparison study using new and existing datasets.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Carslaw, D. et al.,2013:Defra Phase 2 urban model evaluation.Article online
  • Barnes, M. et al.,2013:Enhanced ‘urban breathability’ leads to deterioration in ground-level air quality.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Stocker, J. et al.,2012:ADMS-Urban: developments in modelling dispersion from the city scale to the local scale.Article online
  • Carslaw, D.,2011:Defra urban model evaluation analysis – Phase 1.Article online
  • Sheng, X. et al.,2007:ADMS-Roads validation and its application for traffic management schemes.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • McHugh, C. et al.,2004:Using ADMS models for air quality assessment and management in China.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Ellis, K. et al.,2001:Comparison of ADMS-Roads, CALINE4 and UK DMRB model predictions for roads.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2000:Use and validation of ADMS-Urban in contrasting urban and industrial locations.Article online
  • Owen, B. et al.,2000:Prediction of total oxides of nitrogen and nitrogen dioxide concentrations in a large urban area using a new generation urban scale dispersion model with integral chemistry model.Article online
  • McHugh, C. et al.,1997:ADMS-Urban: an air quality management system for traffic, domestic and industrial pollution.Article online

Local Air Quality Management

  • CERC,2011:Air Quality Modelling for the London Borough of Hackney.(.pdf, 7MB)
  • CERC,2011:Air Quality Modelling for the London Borough of Lewisham.(.pdf, 6MB)
  • CERC,2011:Air Quality Modelling for the City of London Corporation: Model Verification & Air Quality Maps.(.pdf, 8MB)
  • CERC,2011:Source Apportionment for the City of London Corporation.(.pdf, 2MB)
  • CERC,2011:Emissions Reductions Scenarios for the City of London Corporation.(.pdf, 13MB)
  • SIA ELLE,2011:Piesārņojuma izkliedes datormodeļa izstrāde ,,Rīcības programmas gaisa piesārņojuma samazināšanai Ventspilī'' ietvaros.(.pdf, 3MB)


  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2008:Regulatory requirements for dispersion modelling in Taiwan including the use of ADMS.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2004:Modelling air quality scenarios in London, are the EU limit values for NO2 and PM10 achievable?(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Colvile, R. et al.,2002:Uncertainty in dispersion modelling and urban air quality mapping.Article online
  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2002:Dispersion of air pollution in urban areas in the UK.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2001:General lessons from the UK's air quality review and assessment process.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2001:Determination of compliance with UK and EU air quality objectives from high-resolution pollutant concentration maps calculated using ADMS-Urban.Article online


  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2011:Developments in ADMS-Airport to take account of near field dispersion and applications to Heathrow Airport.Article online
  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2008:ADMS-Airport: model intercomparison and model validation.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Carruthers, D.J.,2006:Intercomparison of five modelling approaches including ADMS-Airport and EDMS/AERMOD for predicting air quality in the vicinity of London Heathrow Airport.Article online


Wind turbine wakes

Flow field

  • CERC,2016:Askervein Hill.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • CERC,2016:Blashaval.(.pdf, <1MB)
  • Carruthers, D.J. et al.,2014:Modelling of wind shear downwind of mountain ridges at Hong Kong International Airport.Article online
  • Stocker, J. et al.,2016:Optimized use of real-time vertical-profile wind data and fast modelling for prediction of airflow over complex terrain.Article online

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