A comparison of namemodel predictions and observations from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption

Helen N. Webster, David J. Thomson, Ben T. Johnson, Imogen P C Heard, Kate Turnbull, Franco Marenco, Nina I. Kristiansen, James Dorsey, Andreas Minikin, Bernadett Weinzierl, Ulrich Schumann, R. Steve J Sparks, Sue C. Loughlin, Matthew C. Hort, Susan J. Leadbetter, Ben J. Devenish, Jim M. Haywood, Brian W. Golding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

Abstract

During the 2010 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, improvements were made to the modelling procedure at the UK Met Office, enabling peak ash concentrations within the volcanic cloud to be estimated. In this paper we describe the ash concentration forecasting method and its rationale. To validate the ash concentration modelling procedure, predicted ash concentrations are compared against peak ash observations obtained from both ground based and research aircraft instrumentation. This comparison 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 are found to lie within about one and a half orders of magnitude of the observed peak concentrations. Significant improvements in the agreement between modelled and observed values are 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 eruption height and the vertical distribution of ash at the source) is assessed and, in some cases, seemingly minor uncertainties in the source properties are found to have a large effect on predicted ash concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHARMO 2011 - Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Harmonisation within Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling for Regulatory Purposes
PublisherUniversity of West Macedonia
Pages699-703
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9789608965065
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event14th International Conference on Harmonisation within Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling for Regulatory Purposes, HARMO 2011 - Kos Island, Greece
Duration: 2 Oct 20116 Oct 2011

Conference

Conference14th International Conference on Harmonisation within Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling for Regulatory Purposes, HARMO 2011
CountryGreece
CityKos Island
Period2/10/116/10/11

Keywords

  • Ash concentrations
  • Eyjafjallajökull
  • Name
  • Validation
  • Volcanic ash

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