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Operational prediction of ash concentrations in the distal volcanic cloud from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption

Webster, H.N. and Thomson, D.J. and Johnson, B.T. and Heard, I.P.C. and Turnbull, K. and Marenco, F. and Kristiansen, N.I. and Dorsey, J. and Minikin, Andreas and Weinzierl, Bernadett and Schumann, U. and Sparks, R.S.J. and Loughlin, S.C. and Hort, M.C. and Leadbetter, S.J. and Devenish, B.J. and Manning, A.J. and Witham, C.S. and Haywood, J.M. and Golding, Brian W. (2012) Operational prediction of ash concentrations in the distal volcanic cloud from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 117 (D00U08), pp. 1-17. DOI: 10.1029/2011JD016790. ISSN 0148-0227.

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Official URL: http://www.agu.org/journals/jd/jd1202/2011JD016790/2011JD016790.pdf


During the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, improvements were made to the modeling procedure at the Met Office, UK, enabling peak ash concentrations within the volcanic cloud to be estimated. In this paper we describe the ash concentration forecasting method, its rationale and how it evolved over time in response to new information and user requirements. The change from solely forecasting regions of ash to also estimating peak ash concentrations required consideration of volcanic ash emission rates, the fraction of ash surviving near-source fall-out, and the relationship between predicted mean and local peak ash concentrations unresolved by the model. To validate the modeling procedure, predicted peak ash concentrations are compared against observations obtained by ground-based and research aircraft instrumentation. This comparison between modeled and observed peak concentrations highlights the many sources of error and the uncertainties involved. Despite the challenges of predicting ash concentrations, the ash forecasting method employed here is found to give useful guidance on likely ash concentrations. Predicted peak ash concentrations lie within about one and a half orders of magnitude of the observed peak concentrations. A significant improvement in the agreement between modeled and observed values is seen if a buffer zone, accounting for positional errors in the predicted ash cloud, is used. Sensitivity of the predicted ash concentrations to the source properties (e.g., the plume height and the vertical distribution of ash at the source) is assessed and in some cases, seemingly minor uncertainties in the source specification have a large effect on predicted ash concentrations.

Document Type:Article
Title:Operational prediction of ash concentrations in the distal volcanic cloud from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Webster, H.N.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Thomson, D.J.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Johnson, B.T.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Heard, I.P.C.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Turnbull, K.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Marenco, F.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Kristiansen, N.I.NILU, Kjeller, N
Dorsey, J.Univ. of Manchester, UK
Minikin, AndreasDLR, IPA
Weinzierl, BernadettDLR, IPA
Schumann, U.DLR, IPA
Sparks, R.S.J.Univ. of Bristol, UK
Loughlin, S.C.British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, UK
Hort, M.C.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Leadbetter, S.J.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Devenish, B.J.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Manning, A.J.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Witham, C.S.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Haywood, J.M.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Golding, Brian W.Met Office, Exeter, UK
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-17
Keywords:Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjöll, Eyjafjalla, volcanic ash, forecast, ash concentration, ash plume
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation (old)
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Trace Species
Deposited By: Jana Freund
Deposited On:30 Jan 2012 15:20
Last Modified:13 Nov 2014 15:01

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