Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Geosci. Model Dev., 6, 457–468, 2013

Special issue: The community version of the Weather Research and Forecasting...

Special issue: Coupled chemistry–meteorology modelling: status and...

Geosci. Model Dev., 6, 457–468, 2013

Model description paper 09 Apr 2013

Model description paper | 09 Apr 2013

Inclusion of ash and SO2 emissions from volcanic eruptions in WRF-Chem: development and some applications

M. Stuefer1, S. R. Freitas2, G. Grell3, P. Webley1, S. Peckham3, S. A. McKeen3, and S. D. Egan1 M. Stuefer et al.
  • 1Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska, AK 99775, USA
  • 2Center for Weather Prediction and Climate Studies – CPTEC/INPE, Cachoeira Paulista, 12630-000 Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 3National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth Systems Research Laboratory, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado, CO 80305-3337, USA

Abstract. We describe a new functionality within the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model with coupled Chemistry (WRF-Chem) that allows simulating emission, transport, dispersion, transformation and sedimentation of pollutants released during volcanic activities. Emissions from both an explosive eruption case and a relatively calm degassing situation are considered using the most recent volcanic emission databases. A preprocessor tool provides emission fields and additional information needed to establish the initial three-dimensional cloud umbrella/vertical distribution within the transport model grid, as well as the timing and duration of an eruption. From this source condition, the transport, dispersion and sedimentation of the ash cloud can be realistically simulated by WRF-Chem using its own dynamics and physical parameterization as well as data assimilation. Examples of model applications include a comparison of tephra fall deposits from the 1989 eruption of Mount Redoubt (Alaska) and the dispersion of ash from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland. Both model applications show good coincidence between WRF-Chem and observations.