Community Modeling and Analysis System

Introduction to CMAS

ON THIS PAGE:  Introduction | What does CMAS do? | Who is the community? | Why do we need CMAS?

The US EPA contracted the Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development (CEMPD) through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Institute for the Environment (IE) to establish a Community Modeling and Analysis System (CMAS) for supporting community-based air quality modeling. CMAS is an approach to the development, application, and analysis of environmental models that leverages the complementary talents and resources of the modeling community in order to set new standards for quality in science and in the reliability of the application of the technology.

CEMPD developed a resource in the CMAS Center to distribute the features of CMAS to the global modeling community. From research to application to outreach, the goal of the CMAS Center is to advance the community modeling paradigm through the establishment of a centralized resource to serve the members of the environmental modeling community.

What does CMAS do?

Currently, the following activities are available through the CMAS Center:

Who is included in the community?

A primary focus of CMAS is to instill a sense of community among the users of environmental models. From the individual to the organizational level, the beneficiaries of CMAS include, but are not limited to,

  • Government
  • Industry
  • Academia
  • Research
  • Consultants
  • Stakeholder groups

By promoting cooperation within and between the different groups in the environmental modeling community, CMAS forms the foundation to enable the community to participate in the examination of issues and the subsequent development of strategies that meet societal challenges of environmental protection. Meet the CMAS Personnel

Why do we need CMAS?

Historically, advancements in air quality model technology could not be easily shared between modelers because of technical incompatibilities. By standardizing with open-source, advanced modeling systems, CMAS enables collaborative development and linking of models for meteorology, emissions, air quality, hydrology, and environmental and health effects. CMAS will build on the pioneering work by EPA and other research organizations by developing advanced tools to assist users to build models, develop datasets, analyze results, and understand model behavior. Because the CMAS-supported models use a “modular” approach with well-defined communications between modules, developers can upgrade existing processes or add new ones, thus ensuring the rapid evolution of the technology to meet the changing needs of the environmental modeling community.

Models-3 represents the US EPA's first tangible product to evolve out of the community modeling paradigm. With a framework for a community model in Models-3, there is a need for centralized coordination of development and application efforts for mutual benefit to scientists, model developers, practitioners of modeling, and regulatory users of modeling results. CMAS and its accompanying center at the CEMPD will facilitate the effort to draw the interest of the modeling community towards advancement through cooperation.