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Volcanic ash over Scandinavia originating from the Grímsvötn eruptions in May 2011

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Abstract

[1] A volcanic ash plume that originated from the eruptions of Iceland's Grímsvötn volcano in May 2011 was observed over the Nordic countries using a combination of satellite observations and ground-based measurements. The dispersion of the plume was investigated using London VAAC ash forecasts and MODIS observations. Hourly PM10 concentrations at air quality monitoring stations in the southern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland exceeded 100 μg/m3 for several hours. The FLEXPART dispersion model has been used to confirm the Icelandic origin of the sampled air masses. Column-integrated quantities from a Sun photometer and vertical profiles from a Raman lidar were used to estimate the ash concentration within an elevated layer over Stockholm. A lofted layer with an optical thickness of 0.3 at 532 nm passed Stockholm in the morning hours of 25 May 2011. Considering a realistic range of coarse-mode fractions and specific ash extinctions from the literature, an estimated range of maximum ash mass concentration of 150–340 μg/m3 was derived from the lidar measurements at an altitude of 2.8 km. The lower estimate of the lidar-derived ash mass concentrations within the planetary boundary layer was found to be in good agreement with surface observations of PM10.

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