EGU2020-16028, updated on 24 Aug 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-16028
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Dispersion Model Evaluation for the Sulfur Dioxide Plume from the 2019 Raikoke Eruption using Satellite Measurements.

Johannes de Leeuw1, Anja Schmidt1,2, Claire Witham3, Nicolas Theys4, Richard Pope5,6, Jim Haywood3,7, Martin Osborne3,7, and Nina Kristiansen3
Johannes de Leeuw et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 4Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Brussels, Belgium
  • 5School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • 6National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • 7College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom

Volcanic eruptions pose a serious threat to the aviation industry causing widespread disruption. To identify any potential impacts, nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) provide global monitoring of all eruptions, informing stakeholders how each volcanic eruption might interfere with aviation. Numerical dispersion models represent a vital infrastructure when assessing and forecasting the atmospheric conditions from a volcanic plume.

In this study we investigate the 2019 Raikoke eruption, which emitted approximately 1.5 Tg of sulfur dioxide (SO2) representing the largest volcanic emission of SO2 into the stratosphere since the Nabro eruption in 2011. Using the UK Met Office’s Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME), we simulate the evolution of the volcanic gas and aerosol particle plumes (SO2 and sulfate, SO4) across the Northern Hemisphere between 21st June and 17th July. We evaluate the skills and limitations of NAME in terms of modelling volcanic SO2 plumes, by comparing our simulations to high-resolution measurements from the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on-board the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Sentinel 5 – Precursor (S5P) satellite.

Our comparisons show that NAME accurately simulates the observed location and shape of the SO2 plume in the first few weeks after the eruption. NAME also reproduces the magnitude of the observed SO2 vertical column densities, when emitting 1.5 Tg of SO2, during the first 48 hours after the eruption. On longer timescales, we find that the model-simulated SO2 plume in NAME is more diffuse than in the TROPOMI measurements, resulting in an underestimation of the peak SO2 vertical column densities in the model. This suggests that the diffusion parameters used in NAME are too large in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.

Finally, NAME underestimates the total mass of SO2 when compared to estimates from TROPOMI, however emitting 2 Tg of SO2 in the model improves the comparison, resulting in very good agreement with the satellite measurements.

How to cite: de Leeuw, J., Schmidt, A., Witham, C., Theys, N., Pope, R., Haywood, J., Osborne, M., and Kristiansen, N.: Dispersion Model Evaluation for the Sulfur Dioxide Plume from the 2019 Raikoke Eruption using Satellite Measurements., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-16028, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-16028, 2020

How to cite: de Leeuw, J., Schmidt, A., Witham, C., Theys, N., Pope, R., Haywood, J., Osborne, M., and Kristiansen, N.: Dispersion Model Evaluation for the Sulfur Dioxide Plume from the 2019 Raikoke Eruption using Satellite Measurements., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-16028, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-16028, 2020

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