27 Apr 2023
 | 27 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Estimating volcanic ash emissions using retrieved satellite ash columns and inverse ash transport modelling using VolcanicAshInversion v1.2.1, within the operational eEMEP volcanic plume forecasting system (version rv4_17)

André R. Brodtkorb, Anna Benedictow, Heiko Klein, Arve Kylling, Agnes Nyiri, Alvaro Valdebenito, Espen Sollum, and Nina Kristiansen

Abstract. Accurate modelling of ash clouds from volcanic eruptions requires knowledge about the eruption source parameters including eruption onset, duration, mass eruption rates, particle size distribution, and vertical emission profiles. However, most of these parameters are unknown and must be estimated somehow. Some are estimated based on observed correlations and known volcano parameters. However, a more accurate estimate is often needed to bring the model into closer agreement to observations.

This paper describes the inversion procedure implemented at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute for estimating ash emission rates from retrieved satellite ash column amounts and a priori knowledge. The overall procedure consists of five stages: (1) generate a priori emission estimates; (2) run forward simulations with a set of unit emission profiles; (3) collocate/match observations with emission simulations; (4) build system of linear equations; and (5) solve overdetermined system. We go through the mathematical foundations for the inversion procedure, performance for synthetic cases, and performance for real-world cases. The novelties of this paper includes a memory efficient formulation of the inversion problem, a detailed description and illustrations of the mathematical formulations, evaluation of the inversion method using synthetic known truth data as well as real data, and inclusion of observations of ash cloud-top height. The source code used in this work is freely available under an open source license, and is possible to use for other similar applications.

André R. Brodtkorb et al.

Status: open (until 28 Jun 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

André R. Brodtkorb et al.

Data sets

Three-hourly gridded volcanic ash emissions for the Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption André Rigland Brodtkorb, Alvaro Valdebenito, and eEMEP contrubutors

Model code and software

VolcanicAshInversion v 1.2.1 André Brodtkorb

Video supplement

2010 eruption at Eyjafjallajökull André Brodtkorb

André R. Brodtkorb et al.


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Short summary
It is vital to know the extent and concentration of volcanic ash in the atmosphere during a volcanic eruption. Whilst satellite imagery may give an estimate of the ash right now (assuming no cloud coverage), we also need to know where it will be in the coming hours. This paper presents a method for estimating parameters for a volcanic eruption based on satellite observations of ash in the atmosphere. The software package is open source and applicable to similar inversion scenarios.