Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experts gather as volcanic dust settles

31.05.2010
Following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull volcano that spewed huge amounts of ash and grounded numerous flights, more than 50 experts from around the world gathered at a workshop organised by ESA and EUMETSAT to discuss what has been learned and identify future opportunities for volcanic ash monitoring.

The experts included meteorologists, ground-based, air-borne and Earth-observation specialists and modellers. While scientists and researchers shared information about the unique eruption, monitoring capabilities, modelling and validation techniques, the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) explained their role and expectations of the scientific community.

Fred Prata, Senior Scientist for Atmosphere and Climate Change at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, said: "Satellite data are extremely important for volcanic eruptions because they can occur anywhere, anytime, so you need a measurement system that can see the entire globe all the time.

"One missing part of the story is the vertical profile, which lidars in space can provide. ESA will launch a couple of scientific lidar missions in the future, ADM-Aeolus and EarthCARE."

The crucial role of infrared instruments was emphasised in several talks, highlighting EUMETSAT’s upcoming Meteosat Third Generation satellites, being developed by ESA.

"Infrared instruments are absolutely vital because they do not require sunlight so we can see volcanic emissions day or night. They also use a band between 8 and 12 microns, which is key because the particles that cause aviation problems are micron-sized," Prata said.

The presentations on ground-based and air-borne observations and modelling showed very good consistency, also with satellite observations, and it was well recognised all data and information needs to be combined for the best result.

"There has been an unprecedented amount of ground data collected by the European community on this ash cloud, providing a great opportunity to learn more about data-collection processes," said David Schneider, Research Geophysicist at the US Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Philippe Husson, Aviation Weather Forecast Deputy and the Toulouse VAAC Manager for Meteo France, explained that observation requirements of volcanic ash evolved during the eruption to include numbers and expressed the impact this will have on VAACS.

"In the past, we used qualitative results to depict hazards, but now that we have been provided with ash threshold values we will probably be required to provide concentration maps with absolute numbers. As we must go from qualitative to quantitative information about ash concentrations and the distribution and size of particles, we need satellites to provide numbers," he said.

Husson said the threshold figures are not definitive and are being reassessed by aviation authorities. Several factors will be considered, including trial results of real ash in real engines, engine types and rates of ingestion, as flying 10 minutes in high concentration could be equivalent to six hours in weak concentration.

"As the decision was taken quickly there was not a lot of input from scientists, but now there is time to consult them to find out what confidence we can have in the numbers," he added.

A set of recommendations were outlined at the workshop. These will be documented in a joint ESA-EUMETSAT publication and made available online.

"I’m looking forward to the recommendations because the things being discussed here are essential for doing our job," said Jean-Paul Malingreau, Head of Unit Work Programme and Strategy of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

"We also need to assess whether the available and future satellite instruments are sufficient, so recommendations on this can be made available to policymakers to decide what to finance."

Tammy Oaks | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.int
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMIR25NL9G_index_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>