The Atmospheric Technologies Group (ATG)
The Atmospheric Technologies Group of the Savannah River National Laboratory conducts an active program of
applied research and development related to: (1) the transport and fate of contaminants released to the environment from industrial
activity or malevolent act for applications in emergency response, nuclear nonproliferation, and carbon science, and (2) applied
assessments of regional and local climate as related to the sustainability of energy generation and natural resources in response
to possible future climate change. Originally established in 1974, the ATG is currently part of the National and Homeland Security
Directorate of SRNL. The SRNL is the Corporate R&D laboratory for the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management.
Major Program Areas:
The ATG has a long history of developing and applying technologies used to rapidly assess the consequences of
hazardous materials releases into the environment. These technologies seamlessly integrate real-time meteorological data with a
suite of computer models that reliably predict the transport of both airborne and aqueous releases over scales from a few miles to
hundreds of miles. Results are tailored to support the development of effective protective actions for both prompt and long-term
consequences of the release, whether from a fixed facility, transportation event, or a malevolent act involving weapons of mass
destruction. ATG's leadership in this area stems from years of active support of emergency management at Savannah River, active
research conducted under our Advanced Atmospheric Modeling program, and participation in national and international initiatives
such as the European Union's Ensemble program.
Advanced Atmospheric Modeling
A fundamental component of the ATG mission is the development and application of advanced
local-to-regional scale atmospheric models. A suite of models are used by ATG scientists for conducting research in
data assimilation and optimization, source attribution, and investigations of atmospheric phenomena, such as sea breeze
fronts or nocturnal gravity waves, that are important to air contaminant transport and fate. In addition, mesoscale
models are run operationally for the Southeast U.S. and various other regions of the globe to support emergency response,
nuclear nonproliferation customers, and weather forecasting.
The ATG is leveraging unique assets available at the Savannah River Site to conduct research in the net
ecosystem exchange of CO2 characteristic of the Southeast U.S - a critical region of the country for carbon sequestration - and
to develop improved methods for attribution of the sources and sinks of atmospheric carbon. This research utilizes ATG's considerable
observational infrastructure, capabilities and experience in atmospheric modeling at micro- to meso-scales, and the unique experimental
platform offered by a nearly 300 square mile reservation of controlled woodland. The ATG has partnered with the NOAA to establish a
Carbon Tracker site at our Tall Tower Facility. Furthermore, ATG is conducting research on reliable techniques for downscaling output
from global climate models to predict detailed characterizations of future climatic conditions at regional to local scales, for use in
assessing the resiliency of conventional and renewable sources of energy from changes in the availability of natural resources, such as
water (hydro and nuclear), wind, sunshine (solar), and air quality (fossil).
Meteorological Programs for DOE's Savannah River Site and Local Communities
The ATG conducts applied meteorological programs required for safe and efficient operations at DOE's Savannah River Site,
in compliance with applicable state and Federal regulations. This includes a comprehensive, best-in-class meteorological monitoring program,
state of the science modeling capability for emergency response, air modeling of industrial emissions for permitting and regulatory compliance,
weather forecasting for critical work planning and severe weather, and climatological assessments for facility design, site selection, and
construction. Through mutual aid agreements with five neighboring counties, ATG provides technical support to local emergency management agencies.
The ATG was instrumental in assisting nearby Aiken County in their response to the Graniteville rail accident in which a large release of chlorine
occurred following the rupture of a 90-ton rail car.