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Volume 18, issue 5 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1517-1534, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-1517-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 01 Jun 2018

Research article | 01 Jun 2018

An adaptive semi-Lagrangian advection model for transport of volcanic emissions in the atmosphere

Elena Gerwing1,a, Matthias Hort1, Jörn Behrens2, and Bärbel Langmann1 Elena Gerwing et al.
  • 1Institute of Geophysics, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Department of Mathematics, Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • anow at: Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany

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.

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This article describes the first volcanic emission advection model based on an adaptive mesh. The advection of volcanic emissions plays a crucial role in climate research, air traffic control and human wellbeing. In contrast to already existing volcanic emission dispersion models relying on a fixed grid, the application of an adaptive mesh enables us to simulate the advection of volcanic emissions with a high local resolution while minimizing computational cost.
This article describes the first volcanic emission advection model based on an adaptive mesh....
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