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A case study of observations of volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption: 1. In situ airborne observations

Turnbull, Kate and Johnson, Ben and Marenco, Franco and Haywood, Jim and Minikin, Andreas and Weinzierl , Bernadett and Schlager, Hans and Schumann, Ulrich and Leadbetter, Susan and Woolley, Alan (2012) A case study of observations of volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption: 1. In situ airborne observations. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117 (D00U12), pp. 1-19. DOI: 10.1029/2011JD016688.

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Official URL: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2011JD016688.shtml


On 17 May 2010, the FAAM BAe-146 aircraft made remote and in situ measurements of the volcanic ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull over the southern North Sea. The Falcon 20E aircraft operated by Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) also sampled the ash cloud on the same day. While no “wingtip-to-wingtip” co-ordination was performed, the proximity of the two aircraft allows worthwhile comparisons. Despite the high degree of inhomogeneity (e.g., column ash loadings varied by a factor of three over 100 km) the range of ash mass concentrations and the ratios between volcanic ash mass and concentrations of SO2, O3 and CO were consistent between the two aircraft and within expected instrumental uncertainties. The data show strong correlations between ash mass, SO2 concentration and aerosol scattering with the FAAM BAe-146 data providing a specific extinction coefficient of 0.6–0.8 m2 g1. There were significant differences in the observed ash size distribution with FAAM BAe-146 data showing a peak in the mass at 3.5 mm (volume-equivalent diameter) and DLR data peaking at 10 mm. Differences could not be accounted for by refractive index and shape assumptions alone. The aircraft in situ and lidar data suggest peak ash concentrations of 500–800 mg m3 with a factor of two uncertainty. Comparing the location of ash observations with the ash dispersion model output highlights differences that demonstrate the difficulties in forecasting such events and the essential nature of validating models using high quality observational data from platforms such as the FAAM BAe-146 and the DLR Falcon.

Document Type:Article
Title:A case study of observations of volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption: 1. In situ airborne observations
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Turnbull, KateMet Office, Exeter, UK
Johnson, Ben Met Office, Exeter, UK
Marenco, Franco Met Office, Exeter, UK
Haywood, JimMet Office, Exeter, UK
Minikin, AndreasDLR
Weinzierl , BernadettDLR
Schlager, HansDLR
Schumann, UlrichDLR
Leadbetter, Susan Met Office, Exeter, UK
Woolley, Alan FAAM, Cranfield, UK
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-19
Keywords:volcanic ash plume, Eyjafjallajökull, Falcon 20E aircraft
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Trace Species
Deposited By: Jana Freund
Deposited On:16 Jul 2012 13:11
Last Modified:23 Jan 2014 11:36

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