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 February 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

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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 1500 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.


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

Published Papers (1 paper)

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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
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)
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