Mathematics of Dispersion in the Environment

April 4-5 2016 School of Mathematics, University of Birmingham
Organisers: Gavin Esler (UCL), Alexandra Tzella (Birmingham) and Jacques Vanneste (Edinburgh)

Workshop supported by the EPSRC network Maths Foresees.

The 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano caused significant disruption to air travel. Photograph: Jon Gustafsson/AP

Scientific scope

The population of industrialised and developing countries is increasingly faced with the risk of pollution. Dramatic events such as oil spills and volcanic ash emission have huge environmental and economic consequences. Persistent air pollution, especially in urban environments, is perhaps an even more serious problem. Unsurprisingly, then, the dispersion of pollutants is a high priority for environmental agencies, and dispersion modelling is a key component of the forecasts provided by weather and marine centres, such as the Met Office, and by commercial providers. This modelling is facing a number of challenges, from the representation of unresolved turbulence to the plethora of chemical reactions controlling pollutant levels. Tackling these has required and still requires the development of mathematical methods drawing from several areas including stochastic modelling and probability, dynamical systems and numerical analysis.

London smog
Emissions of Nitrogen dioxide (NOx), produced by cars and power stations, have reached dangerously high levels in London. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

This workshop will gather researchers working across these areas on dispersion and related problems. The fields of applications represented include atmospheric dispersion in the troposphere and stratosphere, urban dispersion, ocean transport and mixing, and transport in porous media; the methodologies include multi-scale modelling, stochastic modelling, statistical analysis, computational fluid dynamics and Lagrangian transport models.

The key themes are:

  • transport in complex fluid flows,

  • stochastic models of turbulent transport,

  • dispersion in complex domains,

  • reacting scalars,

  • probabilistic predictions and sampling.

Each of these themes has an immediate practical interest, associated with the prediction and management of risks of air, water or soil pollution.

The rate of mixing of the ship plumes into the background atmosphere is known to influence the global budget of atmospheric trace gases.

Confirmed Speakers

Stephen Belcher, UK Met Office and University of Reading
Pavel Berloff, Imperial College London
Branko Bijeljik, Imperial College London
Colm-cille Caulfield, University of Cambridge
Omduth Coceal , University of Reading
Ben Devenish, UK Met Office
Ruth Doherty, University of Edinburgh
William Durham, University of Oxford
Gavin Esler, University College London
Peter Haynes, University of Cambridge
Greg Pavliotis, Imperial College London
Ignacio Pisso, Norwegian Institute for Air Research
Rob Scheichl, University of Bath
Erik van Sebille, Imperial College London
David Thomson, UK Met office
Yue-Kin Tsang, University of Exeter

The programme is available here.

University of Birmingham campus.

Logistical information

The workshop will take place on the Edgbaston Campus at the University of Birmingham. Information about the Edgbaston campus and how to get here can be found in this link. The University station is linked to the central Birmingham New Street station by the cross-city line (there are up to six trains per hour, the journey time is about 10 minutes). A journey by taxi from the Birmingham International Airport to the University takes about 30 minutes and costs about 35 GBP. A taxi from Birmingham city centre costs less than 10 GBP, with the journey time about 10 minutes.

The workshop will start with registration and lunch, both taking place in the Staff House (building R24 on the map), the Noble Room (second floor) from 12.00pm until 13.30pm on Monday, 4th April. Talks will start at 13.40pm and the workshop will finish around 14.15pm on Tuesday, 5th April. All talks will take place in Small Lecture Theatre (S06, second floor) in the Poynting Building (building R13 on the map) with main entrance opposite building R8. Coffee-breaks and posters will be in the lounge next door. Both lunches will be provided in the Staff House. The workshop dinner will be held on Monday. Details will be posted later.

Accommodation is at the Conference Park. Information about how to get there can be found in this link. The bed and breakfast reception address is Lucas House, The Conference Park, 48 Edgbaston Park Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2RA and their telephone number is 0121 625 3383. Check in is from 2:00pm and check out is by 10:00am.

For further information send an email to a.tzella [AT]