Volcanic ash forecast – application to the May 2008 Chaitén eruption
- 1Earth Sciences Department, Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Suercomputación (BSC-CNS), Jordi Girona 29, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
- 2Instituto de Geología del Noroeste Argentino (GEONORTE) and CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Salta, Buenos Aires 177, 4400 Salta, Argentina
Abstract. We model the transport and subsequent deposition of ash from Chaitén volcano, Chile, during the first week of May 2008. The simulation couples the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) meteorological model with the FALL3D dispersion model. We only use semi-quantitative volcanological inputs based on the first eruption reports. We consider two different run types based on forecasted and hindcasted meteorological conditions. The first simulation type can be regarded as a syn-eruptive operational forecast for the 2–8 May period. We predict the evolution of the ash cloud position, the concentration of ash on air, the expected deposit thickness, and the ash accumulation rates at different localities. The comparison of model results with observed cloud arrival times and satellite images shows the goodness of the combined WRF+FALL3D forecast system and points out the feasibility of combining these two models for short-term forecast of volcanic clouds and ash fallout.