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TAPPAS – Tool for Assessing Pest and Pathogen Aerial Spread

Wind dispersion models are important tools for predicting the spread and impact of wind-borne organisms, contaminants and pollutants.

Modelling wind dispersion involves combining outputs from global wind circulation models with dispersion models and knowledge of the biology or properties of the organisms or particles. Results can be used to better prepare and respond to threats, and design surveillance or monitoring programmes.

The high technical requirements for wind dispersion modelling, in terms of expertise, labour and time, have limited their application.

To overcome these constraints, TAPPAS offers a simple user interface for wind dispersal modelling that enables users to run sophisticated scenarios of long distance spread of windborne threats in near-real time.

TAPPAS provides the following benefits:

  • Near real-time analysis: outputs can be generated in minutes or hours using the latest climate data
  • Provides biosecurity managers with greater assurance in their decision making around windborne threats
  • No requirement for expertise in modelling, GIS or IT
  • Ability to incorporate biology of the organism into scenarios
  • Ability to assess the risk of movement of widely distributed organisms (diffuse sources) on both specific dates (e.g. climate events) and time periods (e.g. season)
  • Visualisation of results as risk-maps. Results can also be downloaded
  • A flexible software architecture which means that other dispersion models and global circulation models can be added, and the interface modified for specific applications.
Map of dispersion of mosquito by wind
TAPPAS visualisation to determine if an exotic pest found in Kalumburu, WA could have travelled from Indonesia on the wind.

Our aim is to develop new partnerships to expand the benefits of TAPPAS through further development and new applications. We welcome collaboration and co-investment to achieve global solutions to biosecurity, health and environmental issues. Please contact the TAPPAS team or subscribe to updates about TAPPAS developments.

TAPPAS is a collaboration between CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and Intersect.

TAPPAS Version 1

Although we have designed Version 1 to help researchers, policy-makers and practitioners address biosecurity questions, the software has been specifically designed to be flexible and adaptable.

It can be customised to study long-distance wind dispersal relevant to many fields including biogeography, ecology, pollen/allergen, dust, smoke and global air pollutants.

Clouds in sky
Powerful atmospheric dispersion and weather models are linked with TAPPAS.

TAPPAS V1.0 combines:
(1) a ‘particle dispersion model’ (HYSPLIT), which was developed by NOAA Air Resources Laboratory and,
(2) climate data generated by ‘numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. Two global models are currently accessible within TAPPAS, a coarse resolution data set back to 1948 (NOAA NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data) and a higher resolution data set restricted to the past few years (the Bureau of Meteorology’s ACCESS global model).

We expect additional dispersions and NWP models to be integrated in future versions to allow users to take an ensemble approach to wind dispersal modelling.

TAPPAS allows users to access the power of high-performance computers located at the National Computational Infrastructure in Canberra, Australia.

Further details about the underlying workings of the TAPPAS software can be found on the ‘TAPPAS Information WIKI’.

Please subscribe to TAPPAS Updates if you’d like to be kept up to date with developments.

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