The 2019 Raikoke volcanic eruption – Part 1: Dispersion model simulations and satellite retrievals of volcanic sulfur dioxide
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Copernicus Publications 21:14 (2021) 10851-10879
Abstract:Volcanic eruptions can cause significant disruption to society, and numerical models are crucial for forecasting the dispersion of erupted material. Here we assess the skill and limitations of the Met Office's Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) in simulating the dispersion of the sulfur dioxide (SO2) cloud from the 21–22 June 2019 eruption of the Raikoke volcano (48.3∘ N, 153.2∘ E). The eruption emitted around 1.5±0.2 Tg of SO2, which represents the largest volcanic emission of SO2 into the stratosphere since the 2011 Nabro eruption. We simulate the temporal evolution of the volcanic SO2 cloud across the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and compare our model simulations to high-resolution SO2 measurements from the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) satellite SO2 products. We show that NAME accurately simulates the observed location and horizontal extent of the SO2 cloud during the first 2–3 weeks after the eruption but is unable, in its standard configuration, to capture the extent and precise location of the highest magnitude vertical column density (VCD) regions within the observed volcanic cloud. Using the structure–amplitude–location (SAL) score and the fractional skill score (FSS) as metrics for model skill, NAME shows skill in simulating the horizontal extent of the cloud for 12–17 d after the eruption where VCDs of SO2 (in Dobson units, DU) are above 1 DU. For SO2 VCDs above 20 DU, which are predominantly observed as small-scale features within the SO2 cloud, the model shows skill on the order of 2–4 d only. The lower skill for these high-SO2-VCD regions is partly explained by the model-simulated SO2 cloud in NAME being too diffuse compared to TROPOMI retrievals. Reducing the standard horizontal diffusion parameters used in NAME by a factor of 4 results in a slightly increased model skill during the first 5 d of the simulation, but on longer timescales the simulated SO2 cloud remains too diffuse when compared to TROPOMI measurements. The skill of NAME to simulate high SO2 VCDs and the temporal evolution of the NH-mean SO2 mass burden is dominated by the fraction of SO2 mass emitted into the lower stratosphere, which is uncertain for the 2019 Raikoke eruption. When emitting 0.9–1.1 Tg of SO2 into the lower stratosphere (11–18 km) and 0.4–0.7 Tg into the upper troposphere (8–11 km), the NAME simulations show a similar peak in SO2 mass burden to that derived from TROPOMI (1.4–1.6 Tg of SO2) with an average SO2 e-folding time of 14–15 d in the NH. Our work illustrates how the synergy between high-resolution satellite retrievals and dispersion models can identify potential limitations of dispersion models like NAME, which will ultimately help to improve dispersion modelling efforts of volcanic SO2 clouds.
The Independent Volcanic Eruption Source Parameter Archive (IVESPA, version 1.0): a new observational database to support explosive eruptive column model validation and development
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research Elsevier 417 (2021) 107295
Abstract:Eruptive column models are powerful tools for investigating the transport of volcanic gas and ash, reconstructing past explosive eruptions, and simulating future hazards. However, the evaluation of these models is challenging as it requires independent estimates of the main model inputs (e.g. mass eruption rate) and outputs (e.g. column height). There exists no database of independently estimated eruption source parameters (ESPs) that is extensive, standardized, maintained, and consensus-based. This paper introduces the Independent Volcanic Eruption Source Parameter Archive (IVESPA, ivespa.co.uk), a community effort endorsed by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) Commission on Tephra Hazard Modelling. We compiled data for 134 explosive eruptive events, spanning the 1902-2016 period, with independent estimates of: i) total erupted mass of fall deposits; ii) duration; iii) eruption column height; and iv) atmospheric conditions. Crucially, we distinguish plume top versus umbrella spreading height, and the height of ash versus sulphur dioxide injection. All parameter values provided have been vetted independently by at least two experts. Uncertainties are quantified systematically, including flags to describe the degree of interpretation of the literature required for each estimate. IVESPA also includes a range of additional parameters such as total grain size distribution, eruption style, morphology of the plume (weak versus strong), and mass contribution from pyroclastic density currents, where available. We discuss the future developments and potential applications of IVESPA and make recommendations for reporting ESPs to maximize their usability across different applications. IVESPA covers an unprecedented range of ESPs and can therefore be used to evaluate and develop eruptive column models across a wide range of conditions using a standardized dataset.
The impact of ensemble meteorology on inverse modeling estimates of volcano emissions and ash dispersion forecasts: Grímsvötn 2011
Atmosphere MDPI 11:10 (2020) 1022
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 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.
An adaptation of the CO2 slicing technique for the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer to obtain the height of tropospheric volcanic ash clouds
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques European Geosciences Union 12:7 (2019) 3853-3883
Abstract:Ash clouds are a geographically far-reaching hazard associated with volcanic eruptions. To minimise the risk that these pose to aircraft and to limit disruption to the aviation industry, it is important to closely monitor the emission and atmospheric dispersion of these plumes. The altitude of the plume is an important consideration and is an essential input into many models of ash cloud propagation. CO2 slicing is an established technique for obtaining the top height of aqueous clouds, and previous studies have demonstrated that there is potential for this method to be used for volcanic ash. In this study, the CO2 slicing technique has been adapted for volcanic ash and applied to spectra obtained from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI). Simulated ash spectra are first used to select the most appropriate channels and then demonstrate that the technique has merit for determining the altitude of the ash. These results indicate a strong match between the true heights and CO2 slicing output with a root mean square error (RMSE) of less than 800 m. Following this, the technique was applied to spectra obtained with IASI during the Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn eruptions in 2010 and 2011 respectively, both of which emitted ash clouds into the troposphere, and which have been extensively studied with satellite imagery. The CO2 slicing results were compared against those from an optimal estimation scheme, also developed for IASI, and a satellite-borne lidar is used for validation. The CO2 slicing heights returned an RMSE value of 2.2 km when compared against the lidar. This is lower than the RMSE for the optimal estimation scheme (2.8 km). The CO2 slicing technique is a relatively fast tool and the results suggest that this method could be used to get a first approximation of the ash cloud height, potentially for use for hazard mitigation, or as an input for other retrieval techniques or models of ash cloud propagation.
Exploring the utility of IASI for monitoring volcanic SO2 emissions
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres American Geophysical Union 123:10 (2018) 5588-5606