Development of python-FALL3D: a modified procedure for modelling volcanic ash dispersal in the Asia-Pacific region

Abstract

Volcanic ash is the most widespread of all volcanic hazards and has the potential to affect hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of people in the densely populated islands of Indonesia. There is limited information available for this region on the hazard posed by volcanic ash, particularly from volcanoes that have not erupted in recent times. There is a need for computational models capable of accurately predicting volcanic ash dispersal at ground level when coupled with field observations of historical or ongoing eruptive activity. To maximise the effectiveness of such models, they should be readily accessible, easy to use and well tested. Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction and the Indonesian Centre for Volcanology and Geohazard Mitigation has collaboratively adapted an existing open-source volcanic ash dispersion model for use in Indonesia. The core model is the widely used, open-source volcanic ash dispersion model FALL3D. A Python wrapper (name here python-FALL3D) has been developed, which modifies the modelling procedure of FALL3D in order to simplify its use for those with little or no background in computational modelling. The modified procedure does not alter the core functionality of FALL3D, but simplifies the modelling procedure by streamlining the installation process, automating both the pre-processing of input meteorological datasets and configuring and executing each utility program in a single-step process. An application example was presented using python-FALL3D for an active volcano in West Java, Indonesia. The example showed that communities located on the western side of Gunung Gede are always susceptible to volcanic ash ground loading regardless of the seasonal variations in wind conditions, whereas communities on the eastern side of Gunung Gede have a marked increase in susceptibility to ground loading during rainy season conditions when prevailing winds include a strong easterly component.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Indonesian Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) and AusAID through the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR).

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Correspondence to A. N. Bear-Crozier.

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Bear-Crozier, A.N., Kartadinata, N., Heriwaseso, A. et al. Development of python-FALL3D: a modified procedure for modelling volcanic ash dispersal in the Asia-Pacific region. Nat Hazards 64, 821–838 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0273-7

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Keywords

  • Volcanic ash
  • Modelling
  • FALL3D
  • Hazard map
  • Probabilistic