30 Mar 2021

30 Mar 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Modelling the volcanic ash plume from Eyjafjallajökull eruption (May 2010) over Europe: evaluation of the benefit of source term improvements and of the assimilation of aerosol measurements

Matthieu Plu1, Guillaume Bigeard1, Bojan Sič1, Emanuele Emili2, Luca Bugliaro3, Laaziz El Amraoui1, Jonathan Guth1, Beatrice Josse1, Lucia Mona4, and Dennis Piontek3 Matthieu Plu et al.
  • 1CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 2CECI, Université de Toulouse, Cerfacs, CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 3Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 4CNR-IMAA, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Metodologie per l’Analis Ambientale, Tito (PZ), Italy

Abstract. Numerical dispersion models are used operationally worldwide to mitigate the effect of volcanic ash on aviation. In order to improve the representation of the horizontal dispersion of ash plumes and of the 3D concentration of ash, a study was conducted using the MOCAGE model during the EUNADICS-AV project. Source term modelling and assimilation of different data were investigated. A sensitivity study to source term formulation showed that a resolved source term, using the FPLUME plume-rise model in MOCAGE, instead of a parameterised source term, induces a more realistic representation of the horizontal dispersion of the ash plume. The FPLUME simulation provides more concentrated and focused ash concentrations in the horizontal and the vertical dimensions than the other source term. The assimilation of MODIS Aerosol Optical Depth has an impact on the horizontal dispersion the plume, but this effect is rather low and local, compared to source term improvement. More promising results are obtained with the continuous assimilation of ground-based lidar profiles, which improves the vertical distribution of ash and helps to reach realistic values of ash concentrations. The improvement can remain several hours after and several hundred kilometers away downstream to the assimilated profiles.

Matthieu Plu et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-97', Andreas Stohl, 25 Apr 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Matthieu Plu, 12 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-97', Anonymous Referee #2, 08 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Matthieu Plu, 12 Oct 2021

Matthieu Plu et al.

Matthieu Plu et al.


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Latest update: 23 Oct 2021
Short summary
Past volcanic eruptions that spread out ash over large areas, like Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, forced to cancel thousands of flights and have huge economic consequences. In this article, we demonstrate that source term improvement and the assimilation of ground-based lidar data can have a beneficial impact for quantifying ash concentrations over Europe. The work was supported by the EUNADICS-AV project.