Increasing Resilience to Icelandic Volcanic Eruptions

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering Computer Science and Maths

Abstract

The economic cost of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland in 2010 due to the closure of UK and European airspace has been estimated at around £200m/day solely for the airline industry with total subsequent impacts on the global economy estimated at US$5bn. This volcanic event is economically the most high-impact, high-consequence regional scale volcanic event in recent history, and resilience to such events needs to be significantly increased. Assessing the economic risk of reoccurrence of such an event and development of this network is the goal of Developing the Resilience to Icelandic Volcanic Eruptions within the UK (DRIVE-UK). Economic resilience can be built by minimising the impact of such eruptions on UK and European airspace closure, which can be achieved through developing a more robust network of near-real-time observations. Observations need to be made in near-real-time as only then will decisions based on the measurements be able to guide the Civil Aviation Authority and National Air Traffic Service as to the necessity to close UK and European airspace. The sensors that will be considered are: satellite measurements, dedicated aircraft measurements, balloon borne instruments and lidar instruments. While each of these types of measurements played an important role in qualitative detection of volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, the algorithms used for accurate determination of volcanic ash mass for each type of sensor had not been specifically developed, resulting in considerable time consuming post-processing. This resulted in accurate quantitative mass estimates only being available days, weeks, or months after the measurements had been made. Only by introducing new algorithms, data analysis techniques, and new novel measurements will closure of airspace in future volcanic ash episodes be avoided.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The economic cost of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland in 2010 due to the closure of UK and European airspace has been estimated at around £200m/day for the airline industry with total subsequent impacts on the global economy of US$5bn2. This volcanic event is economically the most high-impact, high-consequence regional scale volcanic event in recent history, and resilience to such events needs to be significantly increased. Assessing the economic risk of reoccurrence of such an event is one goal of Developing the Resilience to Icelandic Volcanic Eruptions within the UK (DRIVE-UK). Economic resilience can be built by minimising the impact of such eruptions on UK and European airspace closure, which can be achieved through developing a more robust network of near-real-time observations.

We have managed to develop a couple of drone based sensors that will be useful for future events. We have also managed to get 12 patenets and established 10 lidars in a network across the UK.
Exploitation Route The development of both surface based observations and airborne observations has been taken forward by the Met Office. They have established a series of 10 sun-photometers and lidars and a Met Office Civil Contingency Aircraft.

The performance of these instruments will be assessed by a Phd student at the University of Exeter (Met Office CASE studentship partner) in the period 2015-2019.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment,Transport

 
Description DRIVE has continued to make big strides forward in increasing the resilience to volcanic ash intrusions over the UK. The PhD student associated with this seed funding has successfully developed operational retrievals that are now being used by the Met Office and the UK's London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre. It has led to the CAA changing their policy away from the concept of 'detactable' ash to something more quantitative. Full details of the progress is available on request.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services