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CMAS Conference returns to Friday Center for its 21st event Oct. 17-19

September 9, 2022 students greeting each other

The Community Modeling and Analysis System (CMAS) Conference will return in person this fall after more than two years of virtual programming. The conference hosted by the Institute for the Environment will be held Oct. 17-19 at UNC’s Friday Center.  

The CMAS conference, which celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, brings together individuals from the environmental modeling community with the goal of discussing developments in the scientific and regulatory communities and industry related to research in model development and applications for various parts of the world. Approximately 200 attendees are expected in person this year, with 83 oral and 31 poster presentations.   

Sarav Arunachalam, director of the Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development and deputy director of the Institute for the Environment, expressed excitement for the return to an in-person format, which will provide more opportunities for professional networking and discussion. 

“I can’t wait to see the CMAS community in person this year after two years of virtual conferences,” Arunachalam said. “There is so much energy at in-person events, and conversations that lead to multiple collaborations after the event. While it is good to see regular attendees return to the Friday Center this year, I also look forward to welcoming first-time attendees and engaging with them.”  

Three keynote speakers are scheduled to kick off the conference by presenting on the morning of Oct. 17. The remainder of the three-day event will be divided into nine sessions covering a variety of topics, including Regulatory Modeling and SIP Applications, Wildfire Emissions and Air Quality, Model Development, and Cloud Computing, a new topic that has attracted growing momentum in the CMAS community. 

The following keynote speakers will present at the conference: 

  • Ann Marie Carlton, an AAAS Revelle Fellow in Global Stewardship and professor at the University of California-Irvine. Carlton will discuss agricultural air pollution policy and its impacts. 
  • V. Faye McNeill, a professor and director of undergraduate programming in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University. McNeill will examine automated model reduction for improved air quality and SOA modeling in CMAQ. 
  • Alexander Baklanov, a professor at the University of Copenhagen and scientific officer of research at the World Meteorological Organization. Baklanov will explore climate and environment systems from earth systems to integrated urban hydrometeorology. 

In addition, Anthony Wexler – a distinguished professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and land, air, and water resources at UC Davis and director of the Air Quality Research Center – will give a talk about improving the computation performance of air quality models using machine learning tools on the final day of the conference.  

The CMAS Center was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and UNC’s Institute for the Environment to provide a platform for the development and analysis of environmental models and support for the modeling community. In addition to the annual conference, CMAS organizes a variety of activities to engage the community, such as globally recognized training courses, development assistance, and software-related research. 

While all events will be in person, the CMAS Center is continuously monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the conference. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available at certain locations to help minimize the spread of COVID. These precautions are in place to ensure the health and safety of all attendees. 

Registration for the conference is still open. There are two options for registration: Early Bird registration and Late registration. The Early Bird registration fees are $450 for normal registrations or $200 for current students with a deadline of Sept. 17. The Late registration fees are $500 for normal registration or $250 for current students. All registration will close a week before the conference. 

For more information and to view the conference agenda, visit 

Story by Natalie Peoples
Natalie Peoples is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. Natalie is currently a sophomore from Kensington, Maryland, pursuing a double major in journalism and environmental science. In addition to her work as a communications intern for the Institute for the Environment, she has experience in photojournalism and environmental research. Natalie plans to pursue a career in environmental journalism with a special interest in marine science.