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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 Aug 2020

26 Aug 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Extension of the WRF-Chem volcanic emission pre-processor to integrate complex source terms and evaluation for different emission scenarios of the Grimsvötn 2011 eruption

Marcus Hirtl1,2, Barbara Scherllin-Pirscher1, Martin Stuefer2, Delia Arnold1,3, Rocio Baro1, Christian Maurer1, and Marie D. Mulder1 Marcus Hirtl et al.
  • 1Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Vienna, A-1190, Austria
  • 2Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
  • 3Arnold Scientific Consulting, Manresa, 08242, Spain

Abstract. Volcanic eruptions may generate volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide (SO2) plumes with strong temporal and vertical variations. When simulating these changing volcanic plumes and the afar dispersion of emissions, it is important to provide the best available information on the temporal and vertical emission distribution during the eruption. The volcanic emission module of the chemical transport model WRF-Chem has been extended to allow integrating detailed temporally and vertically resolved input data from volcanic eruptions. The new emission pre-processor is tested and evaluated for the eruption of the Grimsvötn volcano in Iceland 2011. The initial ash plumes of the Grimsvötn eruption differed significantly from the SO2 plumes posing challenges to simulate plume dynamics within existing modelling environments: observations of the Grimsvötn plumes revealed strong vertical wind shear that led to different transport directions of the respective ash and SO2 clouds. Three source terms, each of them based on different assumptions and observational data are applied in the model simulations. The emission scenarios range from (i) a simple approach, which assumes constant emission fluxes and a pre-defined vertical emission profile, to (ii) a more complex approach, which integrates temporarily varying observed plume top heights and estimated emissions based on them, to (iii) the most complex method that calculates temporal and vertical variability of the emission fluxes based on satellite observations and inversion techniques. Comparisons between model results and independent observations from satellites, lidar and surface air quality measurements reveal best performance of the most complex source term.

Marcus Hirtl et al.

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Marcus Hirtl et al.

Marcus Hirtl et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The paper shows the application of a new volcanic emission pre-processor for the chemical transport model WRF-Chem. The model is evaluated with different observational data sets for the eruption of the Grimsvötn volcano 2011.
The paper shows the application of a new volcanic emission pre-processor for the chemical...