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The impact of the atmosphere on the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption plume



[1] The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 lasted 39 days, 14 April–23 May. The eruption had two explosive phases separated by a phase with lava formation and reduced explosive activity. During the explosive phases there were episodes of strong winds that advected ash to the south and southeast leading to widespread disruptions in air traffic. The height of the eruption plume was monitored with a weather radar and with web cameras mounted with a view of the volcano. Three different types of the impact of the ambient atmosphere on the eruption plume are described. First, the weather situation throughout the eruption has been analyzed. The frequency of northerly wind component is found to be unusually high, or 71% in comparison to 49% on average in spring. Secondly, during the effusive phase of the eruption diurnal variation was observed in the plume altitude and there is evidence that suggest that nocturnal inversions may have played a role, limiting the rise of the weak plume. Thirdly, images from a web camera were analyzed and the rise of individual cloud heads associated with explosions at the volcano vent mapped. The velocity profiles obtained largely agree with conceptual models of volcanic plumes.

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