Characterisation of the Near-Field Eyjafjallajökull Volcanic Plume and its Long-range Influence

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry


The volcanic plume from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption has caused significant disruption to air transport across Europe. The regulatory response, ensuring aviation safety, depends on dispersion models. The accuracy of the dispersion predictions depend on the intensity of the eruption, on the model representation of the plume dynamics and the physical properties of the ash and gases in the plume. Better characterisation of these processes and properties will require detailed observations and modelling of the near-source plume region. This project will bring to bear observations and modelling in order to achieve more accurate and validated dispersion predictions. The investigation will seek to integrate the volcanological and atmospheric science methods in order to initiate a complete system model of atmospheric processes. This study will integrate new modelling and insights into the dynamics of the volcanic plume and its gravitational equilibration in the stratified atmosphere, effects of meteorological conditions, physical and chemical behaviour of ash particles and gases, physical and chemical in situ measurements, ground-based remote sensing and satellite remote sensing of the plume with very high resolution numerical computational modelling. When integrated with characterisations of the emissions themselves, the research will lead to enhanced predictive capability. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption is ongoing despite the pause in magma extrusion.. Furthermore, all three historical eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were followed by eruptions of the much larger Katla volcano. At least two other volcanic systems in Iceland are 'primed' ready to erupt. This project will ensure that the science and organisational lessons learned from the April/May 2010 response to Eyjafjallajökull are translated fully into preparedness for a further eruption of any other volcano over the next 18 months. Overall, the project will (a) complete the analysis of atmospheric data from the l/May eruption, (b) prepare for future observations and forecasting if there is another eruption before the end of 2011 and (c) make additional observations if there is another eruption.


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Description The award has led to a better understanding of the performance of low cost electrochemical sensors and this has been used to inform on national policy for their use in air quality monitoring. new devices for ar pollution measurement have been developed and technical procedures for improved data quality applied in real-world settings.
Exploitation Route The science is being used by a range of different companies to improve sensor performance and by Defra who are providing advice on the use of sensors for pollution detection. Advice also provided to the Scottish Government, and several Local Authorities. Advice note produced for WMO on sensors, and direct evidence on their use provided to Go-Science.
Sectors Environment,Transport

Description Used to support new products and technologies for air pollution monitoring.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Environment
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services