Special Issue "Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Chris Lucas
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Bureau of Meteorology Australia, Melbourne, Australia
Interests: climate; atmospheric science; Aviation weather
Dr. Claire Witham
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Met Office, Exeter, UK
Interests: atmospheric dispersion; volcanic plumes; research to operations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It has been nearly 10 years since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Southern Iceland highlighted the significant impacts that airborne volcanic ash can have on aviation-based activities. For 6 days in April 2010, air traffic over Europe was paralysed, with much of the airspace restricted in response to the threat posed to jet engines by volcanic ash. The response to the crisis has been a strengthening of the research effort aimed at increasing the detection and forecasting of volcanic ash in the atmosphere.

This Special Issue of Atmosphere, Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere, aims to summarize the state of the science in this vital research area and to explore how this has advanced since the events of 2010. We seek contributions that examine this topic from a variety of aspects, from pure research studies through to operational aspects of volcanic ash forecasts. While any relevant contributions are welcome, we particularly seek contributions on the following topics:

  • Characterisation of the eruption source term. This is a requirement for accurate modelling output. What is the state of the art?
  • Ensemble-based forecasting and uncertainty. What are the best approaches for performing and using ensembles? What are the best approaches for communicating uncertainty to end-users?
  • Quantitative forecasts of ash. Quantitative forecasts are highly desired. What advances have been made in this area? How can remote-sensing data and other observations best be integrated with dispersion models to produce quantitative forecasts?
  • Operational use of volcanic ash modelling. How can operational services and industry best use the information available? How have models advanced since 2010?
  • Physical processes within ash clouds. What influences do the processes of gravitational spreading, aggregation, sedimentation, particle size distributions, etc. have on volcanic ash forecasting? What needs to be included for a good forecast?

Dr. Chris Lucas
Dr. Claire Witham
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Volcanic ash
  • Transport and dispersion models
  • Ensembles
  • Observations
  • Uncertainty
  • Aviation meteorology
  • Eyjafjallajökull

Published Papers (14 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
The Use of Gaussian Mixture Models with Atmospheric Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Models for Density Estimation and Feature Identification
Atmosphere 2020, 11(12), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11121369 - 17 Dec 2020
Viewed by 553
Abstract
Atmospheric Lagrangian particle dispersion models, LPDM, simulate the dispersion of passive tracers in the atmosphere. At the most basic level, model output consists of the position of computational particles and the amount of mass they represent. In order to obtain concentration values, this [...] Read more.
Atmospheric Lagrangian particle dispersion models, LPDM, simulate the dispersion of passive tracers in the atmosphere. At the most basic level, model output consists of the position of computational particles and the amount of mass they represent. In order to obtain concentration values, this information is then converted to a mass distribution via density estimation. To date, density estimation is performed with a nonparametric method so that output consists of gridded concentration data. Here we introduce the use of Gaussian mixture models, GMM, for density estimation. We compare to the histogram or bin counting method for a tracer experiment and simulation of a large volcanic ash cloud. We also demonstrate the use of the mixture model for automatic identification of features in a complex plume such as is produced by a large volcanic eruption. We conclude that use of a mixture model for density estimation and feature identification has potential to be very useful. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the ETNA 2015 Eruption Using WRF–Chem Model and Satellite Observations
Atmosphere 2020, 11(11), 1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11111168 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 700
Abstract
The aim of the present work is to utilize a new functionality within the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF–Chem) that allows simulating emission, transport, and settling of pollutants released during the Etna 2015 volcanic activities. This study constitutes the [...] Read more.
The aim of the present work is to utilize a new functionality within the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF–Chem) that allows simulating emission, transport, and settling of pollutants released during the Etna 2015 volcanic activities. This study constitutes the first systematic application of the WRF–Chem online-based approach to a specific Etna volcanic eruption, with possible effects involving the whole Mediterranean area. In this context, the attention has been focused on the eruption event, recorded from 3–7 December 2015, which led to the closure of the nearby Catania International Airport. Quantitative meteorological forecasts, analyses of Etna volcanic ash transport, and estimates of the ash ground deposition have been performed. In order to test the performance of the proposed approach, the model outputs have been compared with data provided by satellite sensors and Doppler radars. As a result, it emerges that, as far as the selected eruption event is concerned, the WRF–Chem model reasonably reproduces the distribution of SO2 and of volcanic ash. In addition, this modeling system may provide valuable support both to airport management and to local stakeholders including public administrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Comparing Simulations of Umbrella-Cloud Growth and Ash Transport with Observations from Pinatubo, Kelud, and Calbuco Volcanoes
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101038 - 27 Sep 2020
Viewed by 746
Abstract
The largest explosive volcanic eruptions produce umbrella clouds that drive ash radially outward, enlarging the area that impacts aviation and ground-based communities. Models must consider the effects of umbrella spreading when forecasting hazards from these eruptions. In this paper we test a version [...] Read more.
The largest explosive volcanic eruptions produce umbrella clouds that drive ash radially outward, enlarging the area that impacts aviation and ground-based communities. Models must consider the effects of umbrella spreading when forecasting hazards from these eruptions. In this paper we test a version of the advection–dispersion model Ash3d that considers umbrella spreading by comparing its simulations with observations from three well-documented umbrella-forming eruptions: (1) the 15 June 1991 eruption of Pinatubo (Philippines); (2) the 13 February 2014 eruption of Kelud (Indonesia); and (3) phase 2 of the 22–23 April 2015 eruption of Calbuco (Chile). In volume, these eruptions ranged from several cubic kilometers dense-rock equivalent (DRE) for Pinatubo to about one tenth for Calbuco. In mass eruption rate (MER), they ranged from 108–109 kg s−1 at Pinatubo to 9–16 × 106 kg s−1 at Calbuco. For each case we ran simulations that considered umbrella growth and ones that did not. All umbrella-cloud simulations produced a cloud whose area was within ~25% of the observed cloud by the end of the eruption. By the eruption end, the simulated areas of the Pinatubo, Kelud, and Calbuco clouds were 851, 53.2, and 100 × 103 km2 respectively. These areas were 2.2, 2.2, and 1.5 times the areas calculated in simulations that ignored umbrella growth. For Pinatubo and Kelud, the umbrella simulations provided better agreement with the observed cloud area than the non-umbrella simulations. Each of these simulations extended 24 h from the eruption start. After the eruption ended, the difference in cloud area (umbrella minus non-umbrella) at Pinatubo persisted for many hours; at Kelud it diminished and became negative after 14 h and at Calbuco it became negative after ~23 h. The negative differences were inferred to result from the fact that non-umbrella simulations distributed ash over a wider vertical extent in the plume, and that wind shear spread the cloud out in multiple directions. Thus, for some smaller eruptions, wind shear can produce a larger cloud than might be produced by umbrella spreading alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Ensemble Meteorology on Inverse Modeling Estimates of Volcano Emissions and Ash Dispersion Forecasts: Grímsvötn 2011
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101022 - 23 Sep 2020
Viewed by 745
Abstract
Volcanic ash can interact with the earth system on many temporal and spatial scales and is a significant hazard to aircraft. In the event of a volcanic eruption, fast and robust decisions need to be made by aviation authorities about which routes are [...] Read more.
Volcanic ash can interact with the earth system on many temporal and spatial scales and is a significant hazard to aircraft. In the event of a volcanic eruption, fast and robust decisions need to be made by aviation authorities about which routes are safe to operate. Such decisions take into account forecasts of ash location issued by Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs) which are informed by simulations from Volcanic Ash Transport and Dispersion (VATD) models. The estimation of the time-evolving vertical distribution of ash emissions for use in VATD simulations in real time is difficult which can lead to large uncertainty in these forecasts. This study presents a method for constraining the ash emission estimates by combining an inversion modeling technique with an ensemble of meteorological forecasts, resulting in an ensemble of ash emission estimates. These estimates of ash emissions can be used to produce a robust ash forecast consistent with observations. This new ensemble approach is applied to the 2011 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Grímsvötn. The resulting emission profiles each have a similar temporal evolution but there are differences in the magnitude of ash emitted at different heights. For this eruption, the impact of precipitation uncertainty (and the associated wet deposition of ash) on the estimate of the total amount of ash emitted is larger than the impact of the uncertainty in the wind fields. Despite the differences that are dominated by wet deposition uncertainty, the ensemble inversion provides confidence that the reduction of the unconstrained emissions (a priori), particularly above 4 km, is robust across all members. In this case, the use of posterior emission profiles greatly reduces the magnitude and extent of the forecast ash cloud. The ensemble of posterior emission profiles gives a range of ash column loadings much closer in agreement with a set of independent satellite retrievals in comparison to the a priori emissions. Furthermore, airspace containing volcanic ash concentrations deemed to be associated with the highest risk (likelihood of exceeding a high concentration threshold) to aviation are reduced by over 85%. Such improvements could have large implications in emergency response situations. Future research will focus on quantifying the impact of uncertainty in precipitation forecasts on wet deposition in other eruptions and developing an inversion system that makes use of the state-of-the-art meteorological ensembles which has the potential to be used in an operational setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Volcanic Ash Resuspension in Patagonia: Numerical Simulations and Observations
Atmosphere 2020, 11(9), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090977 - 12 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
Resuspension of pyroclastic deposits occurs under specific atmospheric and environmental conditions and typically prolongs and exacerbates the impact associated with the primary emplacement of tephra fallout and pyroclastic density current deposits. An accurate forecasting of the phenomenon, to support Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers [...] Read more.
Resuspension of pyroclastic deposits occurs under specific atmospheric and environmental conditions and typically prolongs and exacerbates the impact associated with the primary emplacement of tephra fallout and pyroclastic density current deposits. An accurate forecasting of the phenomenon, to support Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs) and civil aviation management, depends on adapting volcanic ash transport and dispersion models to include specific ash emission schemes. Few studies have attempted to model the mechanisms of emission and transport of windblown volcanic ash, and a systematic study of observed cases has not been carried out yet. This manuscript combines numerical simulations along with a variety of observational data to examine the general features of ash resuspension events in northern Patagonia following the 2011 Cordón Caulle eruption (Chile). The associated outcomes provide new insights into the spatial distribution of sources, frequency of events, transport patterns, seasonal and diurnal variability, and spatio-temporal distribution of airborne ash. A novel modelling approach based on the coupling between Advanced Research core of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) and FALL3D models is presented, with various model improvements that allow overcoming some limitations in previous ash resuspension studies. Outcomes show the importance of integrating source information based on field measurements (e.g., deposit grain size distribution and particle density). We provide evidence of a strong diurnal and seasonal variability associated with the ash resuspension activity in Patagonia. According to the modelled emission fluxes, ash resuspension activity was found to be significantly more intense during daytime hours. Satellite observations and numerical simulations strongly suggest that major emission sources of resuspended ash were distributed across distal areas (>100 km from the vent) of the Patagonian steppe, covered by a thin layer of fine ash. The importance of realistic soil moisture data to properly model the spatial distribution of emission sources is also highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Operational Response to Volcanic Ash Risks Using HOTVOLC Satellite-Based System and MOCAGE-Accident Model at the Toulouse VAAC
Atmosphere 2020, 11(8), 864; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080864 - 14 Aug 2020
Viewed by 636
Abstract
In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, generating an ash cloud causing unprecedented disruption of European airspace. Despite an exceptional situation, both the London and Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) provided critical information on the location of the cloud and on the concentration [...] Read more.
In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, generating an ash cloud causing unprecedented disruption of European airspace. Despite an exceptional situation, both the London and Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) provided critical information on the location of the cloud and on the concentration of ash, thus contributing to the crisis management. Since then, substantial efforts have been carried out by the scientific community in order to improve remote sensing techniques and numerical modeling. Satellite instruments have proven to be particularly relevant for the characterization of ash cloud properties and a great help in the operational management of volcanic risk. In this study, we present the satellite-based system HOTVOLC developed at the Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand (OPGC) using Meteosat geostationary satellite and designed for real-time monitoring of active volcanoes. After a brief presentation of the system we provide details on newly developed satellite products dedicated to the ash cloud characterization. This includes, in particular, ash cloud altitude and vertical column densities (VCD). Then, from the Stromboli 2018 paroxysm, we show how HOTVOLC can be used in a timely manner to assist the Toulouse VAAC in the operational management of the eruptive crisis. In the second part of the study, we provide parametric tests of the MOCAGE-Accident model run by the Toulouse VAAC from the April 17 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. For this purpose, we tested a range of eruption source parameters including the Total Grain Size Distribution (TGSD), the eruptive column profile, the top plume height and mass eruption rate (MER), as well as the fine ash partitioning. Finally, we make a comparison on this case study between HOTVOLC and MOCAGE-Accident VCD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Isomass and Probability Maps of Ash Fallout Due to Vulcanian Eruptions at Tungurahua Volcano (Ecuador) Deduced from Historical Forecasting
Atmosphere 2020, 11(8), 861; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080861 - 14 Aug 2020
Viewed by 674
Abstract
Since April of 2015, the ash dispersion and ash fallout due to Vulcanian eruptions at Tungurahua, one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador, have been forecasted daily. For this purpose, our forecasting system uses the meteorological Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and [...] Read more.
Since April of 2015, the ash dispersion and ash fallout due to Vulcanian eruptions at Tungurahua, one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador, have been forecasted daily. For this purpose, our forecasting system uses the meteorological Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and the FALL3D models. Previously, and based on field data, laboratory, and numerical studies, corresponding eruption source parameters (ESP) have been defined. We analyzed the historically forecasted results of the ash fallout quantities over four years (April 2015 to March 2019), in order to obtain the average isomass and probability maps for three-month periods: February–March–April (FMA), May–June–July (MJJ), August–September–October (ASO), and November–December–January (NDJ). Our results indicate similar ash fallout shapes during MJJ and ASO, with a clear and defined tendency toward the west of the volcano; this tendency is less defined during NDJ and FMA. The proximal region west of the volcano (about 100 km to the west) has the highest probability (>70%) of being affected by ash fallout. The distant region to the west (more than 100 km west) presented low to medium probabilities (10%–70%) of ash fallout. The cities of Guaranda (W, 60% to 90%), Riobamba (SW, 70%), and Ambato (NW, 50% to 60%) have the highest probabilities of being affected by ash fallout. Among the large Ecuadorian cities, Guayaquil (SW, 10% to 30%) has low probability, and Quito (N, ≤5%) and Cuenca (SSE, <5%) have very low probabilities of being affected by ash fallout. High ash clouds can move in different directions, compared to wind transport near the surface. Therefore, it is possible to detect ash clouds by remote sensing which, in Ecuador, is limited to the layers over the meteorological clouds, which move in a different direction than low wind; the latter produces ash fallout over regions in different directions compared to the detected ash clouds. In addition to the isomass/probability maps and detected ash clouds, forecasting is permanently required in Ecuador. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Use of a Numerical Weather Prediction Model to Simulate Near-Field Volcanic Plumes
Atmosphere 2020, 11(6), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060594 - 04 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 798
Abstract
In this paper, a state-of the art numerical weather prediction (NWP) model is used to simulate the near-field plume of a Plinian-type volcanic eruption. The NWP model is run at very high resolution (of the order of 100 m) and includes a representation [...] Read more.
In this paper, a state-of the art numerical weather prediction (NWP) model is used to simulate the near-field plume of a Plinian-type volcanic eruption. The NWP model is run at very high resolution (of the order of 100 m) and includes a representation of physical processes, including turbulence and buoyancy, that are essential components of eruption column dynamics. Results are shown that illustrate buoyant gas plume dynamics in an atmosphere at rest and in an atmosphere with background wind, and we show that these results agree well with those from theoretical models in the quiescent atmosphere. For wind-blown plumes, we show that features observed in experimental and natural settings are reproduced in our model. However, when comparing with predictions from an integral model using existing entrainment closures there are marked differences. We speculate that these are signatures of a difference in turbulent mixing for uniform and shear flow profiles in a stratified atmosphere. A more complex implementation is given to show that the model may also be used to examine the dispersion of heavy volcanic gases such as sulphur dioxide. Starting from the standard version of the weather research and forecasting (WRF) model, we show that minimal modifications are needed in order to model volcanic plumes. This suggests that the modified NWP model can be used in the forecasting of plume evolution during future volcanic events, in addition to providing a virtual laboratory for the testing of hypotheses regarding plume behaviour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity of Volcanic Ash Dispersion Modelling to Input Grain Size Distribution Based on Hydromagmatic and Magmatic Deposits
Atmosphere 2020, 11(6), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060567 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 801
Abstract
The size distribution of volcanic ash is rarely measured in real time and Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) often rely on a default particle size distribution (PSD) to initialise their dispersion models when forecasting the movement of ash clouds. We conducted a sensitivity [...] Read more.
The size distribution of volcanic ash is rarely measured in real time and Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) often rely on a default particle size distribution (PSD) to initialise their dispersion models when forecasting the movement of ash clouds. We conducted a sensitivity study to investigate the impact of PSD on model output and consider how best to apply default PSDs in operational dispersion modelling. Compiled grain size data confirm that, when considering particles likely to be in the distal ash cloud (< 125 µm diameter), magma composition and eruption size are the dominant controls on grain size distribution. Constraining the PSD is challenging but we find that the grain size of deposits from large hydromagmatic eruptions remains relatively constant with distance, suggesting that total (whole-deposit) grain size distributions (TGSDs) for these eruptions could be estimated from a few samples. We investigated the sensitivity of modelled ash mass loadings (in the air and on the ground) to input PSDs based on coarse to fine TGSDs from our dataset. We found clear differences between modelled mass loadings and the extent of the plume. Comparing TGSDs based on ground-only and ground-plus-satellite data for the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption, we found that basing input PSDs on TGSDs from deposits alone (likely missing the finest particles) led to lower modelled peak ash concentrations and a smaller plume. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Large-Scale Transport of a Volcanic Plume and the Impact on a Secondary Site
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050548 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
Volcanic plumes can be transported across vast distances and can have an impact on solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) reaching the surface due to the scattering and absorption caused by aerosols. The dispersion of the volcanic plume from the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC) [...] Read more.
Volcanic plumes can be transported across vast distances and can have an impact on solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) reaching the surface due to the scattering and absorption caused by aerosols. The dispersion of the volcanic plume from the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC) eruption was investigated to determine the effect on aerosol loading at Cape Point, South Africa. The eruption occurred on 4 June 2011 and resulted in a plume reaching a height of between 9 and 12 km and was dispersed across the Southern Hemisphere. Satellite sulphur dioxide (SO2) observations and a dispersion model showed low concentrations of SO2 at the secondary site. However, satellite observations of volcanic ash and ground-based aerosol measurements did show increases between 10 and 20 June 2011 at the secondary site. Furthermore, there was good agreement with the dispersion model results and observations from satellites with most of the plume located between latitudes 40°–60° South. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Ensemble-Based Data Assimilation of Volcanic Ash Clouds from Satellite Observations: Application to the 24 December 2018 Mt. Etna Explosive Eruption
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040359 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1234
Abstract
Accurate tracking and forecasting of ash dispersal in the atmosphere and quantification of its uncertainty are of fundamental importance for volcanic risk mitigation. Numerical models and satellite sensors offer two complementary ways to monitor ash clouds in real time, but limits and uncertainties [...] Read more.
Accurate tracking and forecasting of ash dispersal in the atmosphere and quantification of its uncertainty are of fundamental importance for volcanic risk mitigation. Numerical models and satellite sensors offer two complementary ways to monitor ash clouds in real time, but limits and uncertainties affect both techniques. Numerical forecasts of volcanic clouds can be improved by assimilating satellite observations of atmospheric ash mass load. In this paper, we present a data assimilation procedure aimed at improving the monitoring and forecasting of volcanic ash clouds produced by explosive eruptions. In particular, we applied the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF) to the results of the Volcanic Ash Transport and Dispersion model HYSPLIT. To properly simulate the release and atmospheric transport of volcanic ash particles, HYSPLIT has been initialized with the results of the eruptive column model PLUME-MoM. The assimilation procedure has been tested against SEVIRI measurements of the volcanic cloud produced during the explosive eruption occurred at Mt. Etna on 24 December 2018. The results show how the assimilation procedure significantly improves the representation of the current ash dispersal and its forecast. In addition, the numerical tests show that the use of the sequential Ensemble Kalman Filter does not require a precise initialization of the numerical model, being able to improve the forecasts as the assimilation cycles are performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling at the London VAAC: A Review of Developments since the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Ash Cloud
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040352 - 04 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1047
Abstract
It has been 10 years since the ash cloud from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull caused unprecedented disruption to air traffic across Europe. During this event, the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) provided advice and guidance on the expected location of volcanic ash [...] Read more.
It has been 10 years since the ash cloud from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull caused unprecedented disruption to air traffic across Europe. During this event, the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) provided advice and guidance on the expected location of volcanic ash in the atmosphere using observations and the atmospheric dispersion model NAME (Numerical Atmospheric-Dispersion Modelling Environment). Rapid changes in regulatory response and procedures during the eruption introduced the requirement to also provide forecasts of ash concentrations, representing a step-change in the level of interrogation of the dispersion model output. Although disruptive, the longevity of the event afforded the scientific community the opportunity to observe and extensively study the transport and dispersion of a volcanic ash cloud. We present the development of the NAME atmospheric dispersion model and modifications to its application in the London VAAC forecasting system since 2010, based on the lessons learned. Our ability to represent both the vertical and horizontal transport of ash in the atmosphere and its removal have been improved through the introduction of new schemes to represent the sedimentation and wet deposition of volcanic ash, and updated schemes to represent deep moist atmospheric convection and parametrizations for plume spread due to unresolved mesoscale motions. A good simulation of the transport and dispersion of a volcanic ash cloud requires an accurate representation of the source and we have introduced more sophisticated approaches to representing the eruption source parameters, and their uncertainties, used to initialize NAME. Finally, upper air wind field data used by the dispersion model is now more accurate than it was in 2010. These developments have resulted in a more robust modelling system at the London VAAC, ready to provide forecasts and guidance during the next volcanic ash event. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Using Satellite Data to Determine Empirical Relationships between Volcanic Ash Source Parameters
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040342 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 663
Abstract
Poor knowledge of dispersion model source parameters related to quantities such as the total fine ash mass emission rate, its effective spatial distribution, and particle size distribution makes the provision of quantitative forecasts of volcanic ash a difficult problem. To ameliorate this problem, [...] Read more.
Poor knowledge of dispersion model source parameters related to quantities such as the total fine ash mass emission rate, its effective spatial distribution, and particle size distribution makes the provision of quantitative forecasts of volcanic ash a difficult problem. To ameliorate this problem, we make use of satellite-retrieved mass load data from 14 eruption case studies to estimate fine ash mass emission rates and other source parameters by an inverse modelling procedure, which requires multidimensional sampling of several thousand trial simulations with different values of source parameters. We then estimate the dependence of these optimal source parameters on eruption height. We show that using these empirical relationships in a data assimilation procedure leads to substantial improvements to the forecasts of ash mass loads, with the use of empirical relationships between parameters and eruption height having the added advantage of computational efficiency because of dimensional reduction. In addition, the use of empirical relationships, which encode information in satellite retrievals from past case studies, implies that quantitative forecasts can still be issued even when satellite retrievals of mass load are not available in real time due to cloud cover or other reasons, making it especially useful for operations in the tropics where ice and water clouds are ubiquitous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Operational Modelling of Umbrella Cloud Growth in a Lagrangian Volcanic Ash Transport and Dispersion Model
Atmosphere 2020, 11(2), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11020200 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1023
Abstract
Large explosive eruptions can result in the formation of an umbrella cloud which rapidly expands, spreading ash out radially from the volcano. The lateral spread by the intrusive gravity current dominates the transport of the ash cloud. Hence, to accurately forecast the transport [...] Read more.
Large explosive eruptions can result in the formation of an umbrella cloud which rapidly expands, spreading ash out radially from the volcano. The lateral spread by the intrusive gravity current dominates the transport of the ash cloud. Hence, to accurately forecast the transport of ash from large eruptions, lateral spread of umbrella clouds needs to be represented within volcanic ash transport and dispersion models. Here, we describe an umbrella cloud parameterisation which has been implemented into an operational Lagrangian model and consider how it may be used during an eruption when information concerning the eruption is limited and model runtime is key. We examine different relations for the volume flow rate into the umbrella, and the rate of spreading within the cloud. The scheme is validated against historic eruptions of differing scales (Pinatubo 1991, Kelud 2014, Calbuco 2015 and Eyjafjallajökull 2010) by comparing model predictions with satellite observations. Reasonable predictions of umbrella cloud spread are achieved using an estimated volume flow rate from the empirical equation by Bursik et al. and the observed eruption height. We show how model predictions can be refined during an ongoing eruption as further information and observations become available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forecasting the Transport of Volcanic Ash in the Atmosphere)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop