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More accurate mapping of ash cloud from volcano in Iceland

Date:
April 21, 2010
Source:
Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark
Summary:
Scientists are following the progress of the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökul volcano across Denmark. New research provides more details about the actual height and development of the ash cloud as well as qualitative measurements of the volcanic ash concentrations in the cloud.

The figure shows Risø’s LIDAR measurements at Høvsøre from the ground and up to an altitude of approx. 10 km. The measurements were conducted from the early afternoon of Saturday 14 April until Monday 20 April. The bottom range (the first kilometre) shows the atmospheric boundary layer where there is always a lot of dust. The brown blobs are clouds which are sometimes so dense that they are impenetrable to the laser light (white background). The blue background stems from scattering from the atmospheric molecules. Especially the ‘sinking’ cloud which is evident from about the afternoon on 19 April until the following morning has been confirmed as being the ash cloud.
Credit: Image courtesy of Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark

At Risø DTU's test station for large wind turbines at Høvsøre in western Jutland, a so-called LIDAR follows the progress of the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökul volcano across Denmark. This has now been confirmed by comparing data from Risø with calculations made by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) and the National Environmental Research Institute (NERI). LIDARs provide more details about the actual height and development of the ash cloud as well as qualitative measurements of the volcanic ash concentrations in the cloud.

The good news comes after DMI has analysed LIDAR measurements from Risø. At DMI, Chief Consultant Jens Havskov Sørensen has exchanged data with Torben Mikkelsen from Risø DTU and compared the measurements from Risø's LIDAR with DMI's model cloud and cloud observations.

The conclusion is that DMI's model calculations are well in line with Risø's LIDAR observations.

Torben Mikkelsen and his colleague from Risø DTU, Sven-Erik Gryning, have now started collaborating with international colleagues and with DMI on using the LIDAR to map the ash cloud:

"We have already entered into international collaboration with Leosphere in France, a manufacturer of LIDARs, and via their LEONET of connected LIDARs they will submit online measurements of the ash cloud to the international meteorological organisations such as UKMO in the UK and WMO (under the UN)," says Torben Mikkelsen.

"Grounding aircraft solely on the basis of model calculations is problematic because we know that models do not always totally agree with reality. By means of LIDARs sited around Europe, we can now carry out measurements and collect real-time data of the cloud in the atmosphere. This means that assessments will be more accurate and help improve the calculation models used by the meteorologists," says Torben Mikkelsen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark. "More accurate mapping of ash cloud from volcano in Iceland." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421102445.htm>.
Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark. (2010, April 21). More accurate mapping of ash cloud from volcano in Iceland. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421102445.htm
Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark. "More accurate mapping of ash cloud from volcano in Iceland." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100421102445.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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