An adaptive semi-Lagrangian advection model for transport of volcanic emissions in the atmosphere
Abstract. The dispersion of volcanic emissions in the Earth atmosphere is of interest for climate research, air traffic control and human wellbeing. Current volcanic emission dispersion models rely on fixed-grid structures that often are not able to resolve the fine filamented structure of volcanic emissions being transported in the atmosphere. Here we extend an existing adaptive semi-Lagrangian advection model for volcanic emissions including the sedimentation of volcanic ash. The advection of volcanic emissions is driven by a precalculated wind field. For evaluation of the model, the explosive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 is chosen, which was one of the largest eruptions in the 20th century. We compare our simulations of the climactic eruption on 15 June 1991 to satellite data of the Pinatubo ash cloud and evaluate different sets of input parameters. We could reproduce the general advection of the Pinatubo ash cloud and, owing to the adaptive mesh, simulations could be performed at a high local resolution while minimizing computational cost. Differences to the observed ash cloud are attributed to uncertainties in the input parameters and the course of Typhoon Yunya, which is probably not completely resolved in the wind data used to drive the model. The best results were achieved for simulations with multiple ash particle sizes.