The 2019 Raikoke volcanic eruption – Part 2: Particle-phase dispersion and concurrent wildfire smoke emissions
Osborne, M; de Leeuw, J; Witham, C; et al.Schmidt, A; Beckett, F; Kristiansen, N; Buxmann, J; Saint, C; Welton, E; Fochesatto, J; Gomes, A; Bundke, U; Petzold, A; Marenco, F; Haywood, J
Date: 7 March 2022
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Copernicus Publications / European Geosciences Union
Between 27 June and 14 July 2019 aerosol layers were observed by the United Kingdom (UK) Raman lidar network in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The arrival of these aerosol layers in late June caused some concern within the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) as according to dispersion simulations the volcanic plume ...
Between 27 June and 14 July 2019 aerosol layers were observed by the United Kingdom (UK) Raman lidar network in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The arrival of these aerosol layers in late June caused some concern within the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) as according to dispersion simulations the volcanic plume from the 21 June 2019 eruption of Raikoke was not expected over the UK until early July. Using dispersion simulations from the Met Office Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME), and supporting evidence from satellite and in situ aircraft observations, we show that the early arrival of the stratospheric layers was not due to aerosols from the explosive eruption of the Raikoke volcano, but due to biomass burning smoke aerosols associated with intense forest fires in Alberta, Canada that occurred four days prior to the Raikoke eruption. We use the observations and model simulations to describe the dispersion of both the volcanic and forest fire aerosol clouds, and estimate that the initial Raikoke ash aerosol cloud contained around 15 Tg of volcanic ash, and that the forest fires produced around 0.2 Tg of biomass burning aerosol. The operational monitoring of volcanic aerosol clouds is a vital capability in terms of aviation safety and the synergy of NAME dispersion simulations and lidar data with depolarising capabilities allowed scientists at the Met Office to interpret the various aerosol layers over the UK, and attribute the material to their sources. The use of NAME allowed the identification of the observed stratospheric layers that reached the UK on 27 June as biomass burning aerosol, characterised by a particle linear depolarisation ratio of 9%, whereas with the lidar alone the latter could have been identified as the early arrival of a volcanic ash / sulphate mixed aerosol cloud. In the case under study, given the low concentration estimates, the exact identification of the aerosol layers would have made little substantive difference to the decision making process within the London VAAC. However, our work shows how the use of dispersion modelling together with multiple observation sources enabled us to create a more complete description of atmospheric aerosol loading.
College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
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