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AuthorsSpinetti, C.* 
Barsotti, S.* 
Neri, A.* 
Buongiorno, M. F.* 
Doumaz, F.* 
Nannipieri, L.* 
TitleInvestigation of the complex dynamics and structure of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanic ash cloud using multispectral images and numerical simulations
Issue Date2013
Series/Report no./118 (2013)
KeywordsVolcanic ash cloud
Satellite retrieval
Numerical modelling
Ash dispersal and deposition
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.07. Volcanic effects 
AbstractWe investigated the structure and evolution of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanic cloud and its dispersal over Iceland and Europe integrating satellite multispectral images and numerical simulations. Data acquired by Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS)and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) have been analyzed to quantify the cloud extent and composition. The VOL-CALPUFF dispersal code was applied to reconstruct the transient and 3-D evolution of the cloud. Source parameters estimated on the base of available a posteriori volcanological data sets have been used. Quantitative comparisons between satellite retrievals and modeling results were performed for two selected instants of time during the first and third eruptive phases on a regional scale. Sensitivity of the model to initial volcanological conditions has been analyzed at continental scale. Several complex non intuitive features of cloud dynamics have been highlighted and strengths and limitations of the adopted methods identified. The main findings are: the level of quantitative agreement between satellite observations and numerical results depends on ash cloud composition (particle sizes and concentration) with better agreement for smaller particles and higher concentrations; the agreement between observations and modeling outcomes also depends on the temporal stability of volcanological conditions and the complexity of the meteorological wind field; the irregular dispersion of ash, as reconstructed from satellite data and numerical modeling, can be well explained by the different response of particle sizes to strong vertical wind-shear, and by resuspension processes acting at ground level; eruptive source conditions are the main source of uncertainty in modeling, especially during an ongoing crisis and at long-range scales.
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