Natural Hazards

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 345–361

Automated forecasting of volcanic ash dispersion utilizing Virtual Globes

Authors

    • Arctic Region Super Computing CenterUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
    • Alaska Volcano Observatory/Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Kenneson Dean
    • Alaska Volcano Observatory/Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
  • John E. Bailey
    • Arctic Region Super Computing CenterUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
    • Alaska Volcano Observatory/Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Jon Dehn
    • Alaska Volcano Observatory/Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Rorik Peterson
    • Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11069-008-9246-2

Cite this article as:
Webley, P.W., Dean, K., Bailey, J.E. et al. Nat Hazards (2009) 51: 345. doi:10.1007/s11069-008-9246-2

Abstract

There are over 100 active volcanoes in the North Pacific (NOPAC) region, most of which are located in sparsely populated areas. Dispersion models play an important role in forecasting the movement of volcanic ash clouds by complementing both remote sensing data and visual observations from the ground and aircraft. Puff is a three-dimensional dispersion model, primarily designed for forecasting volcanic ash dispersion, used by the Alaska Volcano Observatory and other agencies. Since early 2007, the model is in an automated mode to predict the movement of airborne volcanic ash at multiple elevated alert status volcanoes worldwide to provide immediate information when an eruption occurs. Twelve of the predictions are within the NOPAC region, nine more within the southern section of the Pacific ring of fire and the others are in Europe and the Caribbean. Model forecasts are made for initial ash plumes ranging from 4 to 20 km altitude above sea level and for a 24-h forecast period. This information is made available via the Puff model website. Model results can be displayed in Virtual Globes for three-dimensional visualization. Here, we show operational Puff predictions in two and three-dimensions in Google Earth®, both as iso-surfaces and particles, and study past eruptions to illustrate the capabilities that the Virtual Globes can provide. In addition, we show the opportunity that Google Maps® provides in displaying Puff operational predictions via an application programming web interface and how radiosonde data (vertical soundings) and numerical weather prediction vertical profiles can be displayed in Virtual Globes for assisting in estimating ash cloud heights.

Keywords

Puff Volcanic ash Dispersion modelling and Virtual Globes

Abbreviations

AFWA

Airforce Weather Agency

API

Application programming interface

ARSC

Arctic Region Supercomputing Center

ASL

Above sea level

AVHRR

Advanced very high resolution radiometer

AVN-GFS

Aviation model-global forecast system

AVO

Alaska Volcano Observatory

CanERM

Canadian emergency response model

DEM

Digital elevation model

GOES

Geostationary operational environmental satellite

HYSPLIT

Hybrid single-particle Lagrangian integrated trajectories

KVERT

Kamchatka Volcano Emergency Response Team

KML

Keyhole markup language

KMZ

Keyhole markup language zipped

MODIS

Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer

NAM

North American mesoscale model

NCEP

National Centers for Environmental Prediction

NOAA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOGAPS

Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System

NOPAC

North Pacific

NWP

Numerical weather prediction

NWS

National Weather Service

OMI

Ozone monitoring instrument

®

Registered trademark

UAF

University of Alaska Fairbanks

UMBC

University of Maryland – Baltimore County

USGS

United States Geological Survey

UTC

Coordinated universal time

VAAC

Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre

VATD

Volcanic ash transport and dispersion

WRF

Weather research and forecast

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008