1B.4 The UK Met Office Observations Programme response to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption of spring 2010

Monday, 24 January 2011: 2:15 PM
607 (Washington State Convention Center)
Deborah Susan Lee, UK Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom; and D. Klugmann and O. Cox
Manuscript (2.8 MB)

The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland during the spring of 2010 resulted in the transportation of volcanic ash in the atmosphere over the UK. This required a rapid response from the UK Met Office Observations Programme, involving the use of its existing environmental monitoring capability in order to provide useful data on the horizontal and vertical location of volcanic ash.

The UK Met Office operates ~ 130 laser cloud based recorders (LCBRs), also known as ceilometers, at fixed sites around the UK. Approximately 35 of these instruments were networked within one month to respond to the volcanic ash incident, with the final objective of networking at least 60 instruments. This involves the transfer of data from observational sites to a central database, and the production of various plots for visualisation. This new facility has been welcomed for implementation into regular forecasting operations with appropriate guidance and support.

We describe our response to the volcanic ash incident, and present several interesting case studies. These demonstrate that LCBRs have a useful capability in monitoring the presence of volcanic ash in the atmosphere. We also outline work that has been initiated subsequently to better characterise the nature of atmospheric targets, e.g. volcanic ash, from LCBR profiles.

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