[R] Advice on starting to analyze smokestack emissions?

Kevin Zembower kev|n @end|ng |rom zembower@org
Tue Dec 12 12:15:31 CET 2023

Hello, all,

[Originally sent to r-sig-geo list, with no response. Cross-posting
here, in the hope of a wider audience. Anyone with any experience in
this topic? Thanks.]

I'm trying to get started analyzing the concentrations of smokestack
emissions. I don't have any professional background or training for
this; I'm just an old, retired guy who thinks playing with numbers is

A local funeral home in my neighborhood (less than 1200 ft from my
home) is proposing to construct a crematorium for human remains. I have
some experience with the tidycensus package and thought it might be
interesting to construct a model for the changes in concentrations of
the pollutants from the smokestack and, using recorded wind speeds and
directions, see which US Census blocks would be affected.

I have the US Government EPA SCREEN3 output on how concentration varies
with distance from the smokestack.
See https://www.epa.gov/scram/air-quality-dispersion-modeling-screening-models#screen3
if curious. As a first task, I'd like to see if I can calculate similar
results in R. I'm aware of the 'plume' steady-state Gaussian dispersion
(https://rdrr.io/github/holstius/plume/f/inst/doc/plume-intro.pdf), but
am a little concerned that this package was last updated 11 years ago.

Do you have any recommendations for me on how to get started analyzing
this problem? Is 'plume' still the way to go? I'm aware that there are
many atmospheric dispersion models from the US EPA, but I was hoping to
keep my work within R, which I'm really enjoying using and learning
about. Are SCREEN3 and 'plume' comparable? Is this the best R list to
ask questions about this topic?

Thanks for any advice or guidance you have for me.


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