Modeling the resuspension of ash deposited during the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in spring 2010

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Abstract

[1] Eyjafjallajökull, a volcano in southern Iceland, erupted explosively in April and May 2010 depositing ash over a region of more than 3000 km2 to the east and southeast of the volcano. This deposited ash has been frequently remobilized by the wind causing concern for the health of Icelanders living in the region. An investigation was carried out to determine whether it would be possible to produce forecasts of days when high airborne ash concentrations were likely to occur. Information about the spatially varying surface characteristics of the region of deposited ash is not available so in the modeling approach adopted here ash is released from the surface at a rate proportional to the cube of the excess friction velocity (local friction velocity minus a threshold) only when the friction velocity exceeds a threshold. Movement of the resuspended ash is then modeled in a Lagrangian dispersion model. Modeled ash concentrations are compared to observed concentrations from two periods; PM10 observations between 23 May and 2 July 2010 and airborne particle counts between 21 September 2010 and 16 February 2011. More than 66% of the resuspension episodes between May and July are captured by the model and the relative magnitudes of the modeled episodes in this period are in good agreement with the observations. 66% of episodes between October and February are also captured by the model although there is an increase in the false alarm rate which appears to be due to the influence of precipitation.

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