J7.4 Real Time Modeling of Volcanic Clouds and Applications to Air Traffic Flow Algorithms

Monday, 23 January 2017: 4:45 PM
611 (Washington State Convention Center )
Eric J. Hughes, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and N. A. Krotkov, A. Da Silva, R. Hoffman, and T. Myers

Forecasting the transport of volcanic ash clouds is vital in the predictions of regions that are potentially hazardous to aviation.  Constructing accurate forecasts of volcanic SO2 and ash clouds is difficult as many parameters necessary to initialize model simulations are not well understood at the time of a volcanic eruption.  Analyses that combine observations and model simulations provide useful constraints on volcanic emission source terms and can progressively improve the modeled dispersion.  Recent developments in the NASA GOES-5 model allow for the dual simulation of volcanic ash and SO2 clouds.  Column SO2 and aerosol profile observations from the Ozone Monitoring and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Nadir Mapper and limb profiler instruments on board NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite provide an initial estimate of the total SO2 mass and altitude, and are used with backward transport analysis to make an initial volcanic emission height estimate.  Successive column SO2 and aerosol measurements are utilized to “nudge” the modeled SO2 into better agreement with observations, thus providing an overall improvement in forecast accuracy.

Producing real time volcanic cloud forecasts requires rapid inclusion of volcanic eruption events into the GEOS-5 Aerosol and SO2 Forecasting System.  We propose implementing a parallel “dormant” model that is used to simulate the initial eruption off-line and update the operational model’s current state to include the current location of the volcanic emissions.  Air traffic flow algorithms can utilize real time quantitative forecasts of volcanic SO2 and ash clouds to manage navigation around hazardous regions.  Metron Aviation has developed tools that use GEOS-5 volcanic simulations to estimate the impact to aviation of volcanic ash and/or SO2 avoidance.  The details of the proposed system to process real time volcanic cloud forecasts is presented, and the application of GEOS-5 volcanic emissions forecasts within the Metron Aviation air traffic flow algorithms is demonstrated.

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