Volcano-atmosphere interaction

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Theme 2: Volcano-atmosphere interaction description

In 2010 and 2011, the Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn volcanoes erupted sending ash plumes over northern Europe. Resulting closure of airspace in 2010 led to a global economic loss of an estimated $5 billion USD.

During volcanic eruptions an urgent priority is to characterise the proximal plume characteristics, such as mass flux, plume height, particle and gas characteristics. These data are for near real time interpretation of volcanic plume characteristics and are used to drive operational models such as those used by VAACs and agencies responsible for civil hazard warnings.

The Volcano-Atmospheric Interaction theme is centred around research and collaboration on two principle topics:

  1. Multidisciplinary assimilation of data for volcanic ash transport models and source-term parametrization;
  2. Interaction of volcanic products with atmosphere including physical chemical aspects in the near-field of a volcano and far-field evolution.

Activities

Volcano-atmospheric interaction activities involve:

  • Networking atmospheric gas and aerosol observations (definitions of data, products and metadata standards)
  • Consolidation of geochemical gas monitoring across volcano observatories identifying best-practice in geochemical gas monitoring using the combined expertise from volcano observatories and research institute scientists
  • Connecting the volcanological community with Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres
  • Characterisation of grain-size parameters, determination of mass eruption rate and assimilation of geophysical data to initialize Volcanic Ash Transport and Dispersal Models
  • Development of tools as well as evaluating and selecting existing tools and techniques most suitable to rapidly combine and interpret meteorological measurements and ground-based remote sensing of volcanic ash
  • Volcano pre-eruptive detection schemes (development of automatic algorithms for correlating real-time analysis and seismic and infrasound signals)
  • Physical and virtual access to research infrastructures and tools including on-site modelling resources, magma ascent models, and satellite-image derived SO2 flux time series

Work Packages

Volcano-atmospheric interaction is primarily the subject of the following Work Packages:

Outputs

Tephra Metadata Informative Table

Many observations are being made from VOs, VRIs and Operational Institutes (such as VAACs or Civil Protection). Because each institution has different catalogues and different databases, which can have different features, and which are often unknown to the scientific community, it was decided to formulate a Tephra Metadata Informative table to be filled in by the participants of WP8 and WP4. Each institution was asked to list all the ground, airborne and space-based tools used to measure and/or derive the eruption source parameters from an on-going or past eruption and or the methodology and/or instruments or sampling strategy used to measure or derive those parameters from the tephra deposits.

Twelve Volcano Observatories and Volcanic Research Institutions filled in the tables, for a total of 22 volcanoes: Bárðarbunga, Batu Tara, Campi Flegrei, Copahue, Cordon Caulle; Etna, Eyjafjallajökull, Fogo, Fuego, Grímsvötn, Hekla, Laacher See, Montserrat, Nyaragongo, Piton De La Fournaise, Sakurajima, Sete Cidades, Stromboli, Teide, Tungurahua, Vesuvius and Yasur.

The tables are grouped by the different volcanoes and divided according to the measurements performed, either as time series or as single eruptions. For each volcano the tables have also been divided according to the tools/methods used for the quantitation of the parameters.

All the tables are available in the open access google drive

Publications

Kueppers U, Pimentel A, Ellis B, Forni F, Neukampf J, Pacheco J, Perugini D, Queiroz G (2019) Biased volcanic hazard assessment due to incomplete eruption records on ocean islands: an example of Sete Cidades Volcano, Azores. Front. Earth Sci. 7:122. DOI: 10.3389/feart.2019.00122

Thivet S, Gurioli L, Di Muro A, Derrien A, Ferrazzini V, Gouhier M, Coppola D, Galle B, Arellano S (2020) Evidences of plug pressurization triggering secondary fragmentation during the September 2016 basaltic eruption at Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion Island, France) GCubed DOI: 10.1029/2019GC008611

Remote Sensing Informative Table

Satellite remote sensing has long been used to track and measure properties of the eruption cloud as it drifts and disperses. Because several databases already exist between the different VRIs and VOs, we decided to build an informative data table to list all the studied volcanoes and the main parameterized explosion/eruption activities or periods of activities.

The goal was to list existing instruments and allow researchers to gain know-how on existing techniques and their use, facilitate the access to related databases, and make associated data processing easier.

Twelve Volcano Observatories and Volcanic Research Institutions filled in the tables, for a total of 22 volcanoes: Bárðarbunga, Batu Tara, Campi Flegrei, Copahue, Cordon Caulle; Etna, Eyjafjallajökull, Fogo, Fuego, Grímsvötn, Hekla, Laacher See, Montserrat, Nyaragongo, Piton De La Fournaise, Sakurajima, Sete Cidades, Stromboli, Teide, Tungurahua, Vesuvius and Yasur.

Several instruments have been listed among ground-, airborne- and space-based tools: Infrared Camera, Visible Camera, High-Speed Camera, UV Camera, Infrasound, Doppler Radar, Radar, Satellite sensors, Lidar, Airborne instruments, ASHER, Disdrometer, Radiometer, DOAS, Pilot Reports. A brochure for each instrument is given by each institute; this brochure will be linked to the European Catalogue of Volcanoes.

All the tables are available in the open access google drive

Publications

Gouhier M., Eychenne J., Azzaoui N., Guillin A., Deslandes M., Poret M., Costa A., Husson P. (2019). Low efficiency of large volcanic eruptions in transporting very fine ash into the atmosphere. Scientific Report vol.9, p.1449, DOI:10.1038/s41598-019-38595-7 1

Eruption Database

Detailed information on 397 eruptions from eleven volcanoes within European monitoring territories can be accessed through the Eruption database that is stored under the Eruption search section on the website of the European Catalogue of Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas (ECV) in a formal and concise way. This work links to the Community building theme.

The aim of the open-access eruption database is to facilitate communication between VRIs, VOs and VAACs. Information is provided on eruption type and composition, different eruption source parameters and impact of the eruption, such as evacuation, injuries and fatalities.


Collaborations and ongoing activities

Connecting the volcanological community with VAACs

On 5-7 February 2019, the UK Met Office hosted a EUROVOLC workshop to bring together the Volcano Observatories (VOs), Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) and Volcanological Research Institutes (VRI) in Europe. This activity came under the EUROVOLC Networking Activity “Connecting the volcanological community with VAACs” within Work Package 4, which is centred on networking atmospheric gas and aerosol observations. The workshop brought together ~35 leading scientists and operational staff from six of Europe’s VOs (Iceland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece) and the London and Toulouse VAACs. Seven other supporting institutions and organisations also participated.

The invited participants took part in a mixture of talks, discussions and scenario-based activities to strengthen links and coordinate interactions between the volcano observatories and the VAACs for improved crisis response. This was the first time that a dedicated meeting had been held to bring together all of the European volcano observatories with the two VAACs.

The workshop identified how VOs, VRIs and VAACs currently communicate and share information, limitations within these procedures and positive ways these could be improved. Key recommendations for future improvements in the communication procedures were defined, which included:

  • guidance on the use of the VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation);
  • the need for the VONA to be sent to both the lead and back-up VAAC during events for improved back-up response;
  • archiving the VONAs on VO’s websites;
  • two-way feedback between VAACs and VOs;
  • the inclusion of the notification of the VOs in VAACs back-up procedures;
  • introducing as standard, a debrief process between the relevant VAAC and VO after major events;
  • in quiet time, regular sharing of scenario information and summary status reports by VOs, which would improve knowledge at the VAACs;
  • finally, it was recognised that it is important for all VOs to participate in exercises, and for both VOs and VAACs to use exercises as opportunities to test the implementation of these recommendations and revisions to procedures.