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Authors: Azzopardi, F.* 
Raymond, E.* 
Prestifilippo, M.* 
Scollo, S.* 
Coltelli, M.* 
Title: The effect of Etna volcanic ash clouds on the Maltese Islands
Issue Date: 2013
Series/Report no.: /260 (2013)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.04.019
Keywords: volcanic ash forecasting
Maltese Islands
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
Abstract: In this paper, we have studied in depth the effect of Etna volcanic ash clouds on the Maltese Islands. Research was carried out to gather information about Etna's eruptions that impacted the Maltese Islands, starting with historical eruptions dating back to the 14th century continuing to present day. A statistical approach was utilized to provide tephra deposit load and ash concentration using PUFF — a model which simulates the transport, dispersion and sedimentation of volcanic ash. Three different eruptive scenarios that characterize Etna's recent activity were considered; the first scenario representing the 2001 eruption (Sc1), the second scenario representing the July 1998 eruption (Sc2) whilst the third scenario represents the recent activity in 2011– 2012 (Sc3). We found that the time taken for the volcanic ash cloud to reach the Maltese Islands, when the wind direction is toward the south-west ranges from 4 to 6 h. The probability that an Etna volcanic cloud reaches Malta during an eruption is about 15% per annum. The now calibrated model may be now used to produce deposit load and cumulative columnar load (i.e. summation from maximum height of volcanic cloud to ground) of volcanic ash in atmosphere for the Maltese area and help the aviation authorities and Malta airport to make decisions during Etna eruptions. This will be of direct use to local communities and aviation.
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