A Volcanic Plume Dispersion Monitoring 

and Prediction Capability

Dr. Steven Businger, Primary Investigator, Dept. of Meteorology, University of Hawaii

Fig. 1. Processed AVHRR Channel 2 image showing aerosol optical depth for 0500 UTC on 25 Jan 2000. Kilauea plume is visible in the lee of the Big Island.  Dark brown/black areas are contaminated by cloud/land.

Fig. 2. MM5 simulation of average column concentration (kg m-3) from 00 to 01 UTC 25 Jan 2000 using SO2 emission rate of 5.67x10-4 kg hr-1.
  • To mitigate the impact of post-eruptive plumes of volcanic aerosol on respiratory health and volcanic ash on aviation interests, we will develop the capability to monitor and predict the dispersion of volcanic plumes of aerosol and ash using a combination of satellite remote sensing and numerical trajectory and dispersion model approaches.

  • Mr. Roland Draxler, NOAA/ARL, Air Resources Lab.
  • Dr. John Porter, University of Hawaii at Manoa


$347,210 (plus $134,000 to ARL)

businger@hawaii.edu (808) 956-2569

Expected Results:
  • Provide satellite data and model products of horizontal and vertical pollutant distributions as well as the probability that a specified pollutant concentration level will be exceeded at a location and time in the future.
  • Project will enhance the capability of Federal/State Agencies to predict serious vog episodes to mitigate aviation hazards and allow susceptible citizens to better prepare.
  • Project will supply the PDC and health and disaster managers with satellite data and probability dispersion forecasts following volcanic episodes.
Project Schedule:
Effort       (Month)

Retrieve and calibrate satellite data
Comparison between satellite imagery and model data
Establish real-time capability at EOS Direct Broadcast site
User training at PDC