Isomass and probability maps of ash fallout due to Vulcanian eruptions at Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) deduced from historical forecasting

René Parra, Eliana Cadena, Joselyne Paz, Diana Medina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since April of 2015, the ash dispersion and ash fallout due to Vulcanian eruptions at Tungurahua, one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador, have been forecasted daily. For this purpose, our forecasting system uses the meteorologicalWeather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and the FALL3D models. Previously, and based on field data, laboratory, and numerical studies, corresponding eruption source parameters (ESP) have been defined. We analyzed the historically forecasted results of the ash fallout quantities over four years (April 2015 to March 2019), in order to obtain the average isomass and probability maps for three-month periods: February-March-April (FMA), May-June-July (MJJ), August-September-October (ASO), and November-December-January (NDJ). Our results indicate similar ash fallout shapes during MJJ and ASO, with a clear and defined tendency toward the west of the volcano; this tendency is less defined during NDJ and FMA. The proximal region west of the volcano (about 100 km to the west) has the highest probability (>70%) of being affected by ash fallout. The distant region to the west (more than 100 km west) presented low to medium probabilities (10%-70%) of ash fallout. The cities of Guaranda (W, 60% to 90%), Riobamba (SW, 70%), and Ambato (NW, 50% to 60%) have the highest probabilities of being affected by ash fallout. Among the large Ecuadorian cities, Guayaquil (SW, 10% to 30%) has low probability, and Quito (N, ≤5%) and Cuenca (SSE, <5%) have very low probabilities of being affected by ash fallout. High ash clouds can move in different directions, compared to wind transport near the surface. Therefore, it is possible to detect ash clouds by remote sensing which, in Ecuador, is limited to the layers over the meteorological clouds, which move in a different direction than low wind; the latter produces ash fallout over regions in different directions compared to the detected ash clouds. In addition to the isomass/probability maps and detected ash clouds, forecasting is permanently required in Ecuador.

Original languageEnglish
Article number861
JournalAtmosphere
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Eruption source parameters
  • FALL3D
  • Forecasting
  • Offline modeling
  • WRF

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