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Data System Name: Emissions Modeling Framework
Data System URL: http://www.ie.unc.edu/cempd/projects/emf/install/
Contact Person: Marc Houyoux
Contact e-mail: fakeemail@epa.gov


About the Data System (Purposes, Audience)

Emissions Modeling Framework (EMF) is an “expert system” software tool for EPA staff and contractors involved in emissions modeling. “Emissions modeling” is process of converting emission inventory data from its raw form to the forms needed by air quality models used to predict ozone, particulate matter, and hazardous air pollutants in the ambient air. This software is needed to improve efficiency and quality control of in-house and contractor emissions modeling and to provide transparency and data access to those who need information about the work of those modelers. Additionally, we anticipate making this software available to those outside of EPA so that they can have a copy of this same tool; these users would not interact with the EPA system, but rather have their own system installed at their location.

The software is a client-server application based on a three-tier architecture (see http://www.sei.cmu.edu/str/descriptions/clientserver.html). The three tiers are (1) the user interface client, (2) a database management layer, and (3) a middleware layer between the other two tiers that is used to implement the business logic of the software application. This architecture is needed to support the requirement that both data and a set of compute servers be shared among a set of users. The EPA installation of the software has user access only from inside the EPA/RTP firewall.

The EMF provides integrated quality control processes to foster high quality of emissions results, data handling, organization of data in a central database server, tracking of emissions modeling efforts, and real-time accessibility of information. A user interface will allow non-experts to access emission modeling capabilities. The interface will be able to facilitate various activities related to emissions modeling in addition the computation of emission inputs for air quality models. Such activities include 1) the acceptance of new EPA-provided data into the system with appropriate quality control and tracking; 2) set-up and execution of emissions modeling for air quality modeling applications; 3) quality assurance of emissions modeling results; 4) reporting and archiving of reports of emission inventory data; and 5) accessing projection and control information that is used for creating future-year emissions estimates.



The EMF has been developed for internal EPA use to respond to needs for consistency, quality, and reproduceability that the agency has for air quality modeling. For example, we need to be able to reproduce (or provide documentation and metadata for) emissions modeling runs done months or years in the past for regulatory purposes. The data used for those runs may not be the "latest and greatest" data, thus, we need to be able to keep and quickly find and access the data actually used. We also need to be able to see and document updates to the data that have happened since runs had been done with older datasets. The EMF meets these sorts of needs.



List of Publications, Papers, Presentations


Data System Scope

Data Content

Datasets Served

Process the National Emissions Inventory. Provide emissions data to (1) air quality models, (2) other OAQPS data analysis, such as PM and ozone desigations and PM NAAQS Regulatory Impact Assessments. Handles all emissions data: both criteria and air toxics.


Not Given

Spatial - Temporal Coverage

Typically continental US. Annual coverage with hourly resolution.



Feed emissions data to air quality models in support of health analysis

Forecasting and Reanalysis

Feed emissions for air quality modeling for the purposes of air quality forecasting

Model/Emissions Evaluation

Feed emissions to air quality models. Provide speciated, gridded, and hourly emissions from annual/county unspeciated inventory.

Characterization, Trends, Accountability

Can handle data from every year, if available. Emissions modeling includes emissions projections, which are also performed from the EMF.


Create spatial surrogates for spatial allocation in a scriptable way (GIS functions without having to manually do all of the steps in a GIS). Create chemical speciation factors for getting speciated PM, VOC, Hg, & Chromium.

Data System IT

Primary/Official Store for Some data

National Computing Center (NCC) (HPC side). Not available outside of EPA firewall

Data Consolidation/integration

Sharing data planned with Emission Inventory System (EIS) to help reduce/prevent duplicate data.

Providing Data Access to users/externals

Not a current goal of the project. Internal EPA only.

Data Processing

Uses the Sparse Matrix Operator Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) modeling system to process emission inventories to the resolutions needed by the air quality models and other data summaries. Uses the Spatial Surrogate Tool (based on the MIMS Spatial Allocator) to create Spatial Surrogates that are an input to SMOKE. Uses the Speciation Tool to create chemical speciation factors for VOC, needed as an input to SMOKE.


MIMS Analysis Engine embedded in EMF. Uses PAVE in SMOKE run scripts to generate plots during SMOKE runs. Hoped-for links to VERDI, but no specific plans.

Decision Support (e.g. some integration into user business process)

Not Given

End-to-End Integration

Not Given

Other DS Values

Not Given

Data Access and/or Output Interoperability

Have data interchange with EIS using formats specified (initial design work in progress).

Reusable Tools and Methods

Not Given

Security Barriers and Solutions

Inside EPA firewall.

User Feedback Approach

Small user base currently inside EPA only. No automated user feedback approach needed currently.

Other Architecture

EMF uses a PostgreSQL database, Java, Hibernate, and Tomcat. Many other database sysems at EPA in Oracle.

User Provided Content