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The Community Modeling and Analysis System (CMAS) held its first biannual CMAS Asia-Pacific Conference in Beijing, China, May 21-23. The event attracted more than 300 attendees from around the world, including nearby Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the Philippines. Air quality modeling scientists, policy makers and students from various disciplines gathered to explore and exchange ideas on key issues related to atmospheric modeling development and its applications to address environment and climate issues, especially in some Asia-Pacific countries where air quality is a significant problem.

Adel Hanna“Air quality is a global problem. It is not contained by a certain part of the world,” said Adel Hanna, director of CMAS and research professor at the UNC Institute for the Environment (IE). “With a diverse spectrum of participants from all over the world, we are better suited to address problems related to air quality either here or in other places around the world. Air quality affects us all.”

CMAS Asia-Pacific was held in conjunction with the 6th Air Benefit and Cost and Attainment Assessment (ABaCAS) Conference and was hosted by Tsinghua University and its State Key Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control. The program was organized by South China University of Technology, Zhejiang University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Tennessee with the support from China Ministry of Environment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Energy Foundation.

“We benefit a lot from learning about the applications of our modeling systems and their performance in these parts of the world,” Hanna said. “We learn a lot about the development of the models and tools that we have and how they are used in these regions. It opens us up to what are the problems we need to address if we want to look at further problems related to air quality and not necessarily in the area of our country, but other countries.”

Hanna and IE Research Assistant Professor B.H. Baek led a half-day training session on the Community Multiscale Air Quality Modeling System (CMAQ) and Sparse Matrix Operator Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) prior to the main CMAS Asia-Pacific event.

The CMAS Center at UNC-Chapel Hill serves as the international hub for the development, training and education for air quality modeling and analysis. Each year the CMAS Center hosts the CMAS Conference in Chapel Hill. CMAS expanded to South America in recent years to accommodate demand and interest from participants in the region. Piggy-backing off the success of the biannual CMAS South America conference, which held its third conference in August 2017, the program expanded to the Asia-Pacific region to include more participants from that part of the world. These regional conferences will be held in alternate years with the next CMAS South America in 2019 and CMAS Asia-Pacific in 2020. Hanna and the CMAS team are exploring Europe as a future site for a regional conference.

The CMAS Center has been hosted by the UNC Institute for the Environment since its inception in 2002 through successive cooperative agreements and contracts with the U.S. EPA.

CMAS will host its 17th annual U.S. conference in October, which focuses on research, applications and policies related to air quality modeling and analyses and their impact on communities. The event is internationally recognized and is the premier gathering for air quality scientists to share research and ideas on the state of the science. Attendees include national and international air quality modelers, policy makers, academicians, federal and state governmental and non-governmental agencies, and various industries. CMAS membership is approaching 9,000 users world-wide.

In addition to these conferences, the CMAS Center offers online training and support, air quality modeling software, data sharing, workshops, journal publications, and a visiting scientist program. The Center’s training programs serve as an education and training core for those who need to learn about air quality, meteorological, and emissions models, and their uses. CMAS training programs reached more than 2,000 scientists in the past 16 years including training sessions in eight countries around the globe.

For more information on CMAS, visit

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