S40 Application of Atmospheric Transport Models to Implement an Operational Volcanic Hazards Platform for the Caribbean

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Sanola Sandiford, Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, St. James, Barbados

Volcanic ash is a serious health and safety hazard that is often underestimated. Volcanic eruptions propel ash thousands of meters into the atmosphere and this ash can travel thousands of kilometers from the source. In addition to posing a serious threat to aircraft, volcanic ash can also cause grave respiratory problems for exposed persons and animals as well as negatively impact crops and agriculture. Volcanic ash early warning systems rely on accurate modelling to determine the transport pathway of ash in the atmosphere, the time of travel to impacted communities and the particulate sizes to which affected communities will be exposed among other things. The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is currently implementing a volcanic ash early warning and advisory system to complement its already existing Sahara Dust model for the Caribbean. Both models will form key components of the recently established Caribbean Aerosol and Health Network and the World Meteorological Organization Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (WMO SDS-WAS) for the Pan American region located at CIMH. This presentation describes the use of atmospheric transport modelling programs HYSPLIT and WRF-CHEM as well as the ash accumulation modelling program Tephra2 to assess the probable impact that volcanic ash from La Soufrière and Soufrière Hills in St Vincent and Montserrat respectively may have on nearby Caribbean communities. Furthermore, the potential impact of this ash on worldwide aviation is presented. This presentation intends to bring attention to the benefits of volcanic tephra modelling to the Caribbean community as it can help to prepare for a disaster before the disaster has occurred.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner