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.
Materials provided by Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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