35th Nordic Geological Winter Meeting 2022
13 May 2022

ChEESE partner Manuel Titos (IMO) presents "Long-term hazard assessment of explosive volcanic eruptions at Jan Mayen Island (Norway) and their implications for air traffic in the North Atlantic" at the 35th Nordic Geological Winter Meeting 2022 at 11:00-11:15 on 13 May 2022. 


The volcanic island of Jan Mayen (Norway), located in the North Atlantic under trans-continental air traffic routes, is considered the northernmost active volcanic area in the world with at least five eruptive periods recorded during the last 200 years. Explosive activity of the volcano may seriously affects the nearby important air traffic routes. However, quantitative hazard assessments on the possible consequences for the air traffic of a future ash-forming eruption at Jan Mayen are nonexistent. This study presents the first comprehensive long-term volcanic hazard assessment for Jan Mayen in terms of ash dispersal and concentration at different flight levels. In order to delve into the characterization and modeling of that potential impact, a probabilistic approach based on merging a large number of numerical simulations is adopted, varying the volcano's Eruption Source Parameters (ESPs) and meteorological scenario. Since current operational forecast products do not always meet the requirements of the aviation sector and related stakeholders (using coarse time and space scales, with outputs on a 40 km horizontal resolution grid and 6 hour time averages), we propose hourly high resolution hazard maps over a 3D-grid covering a 2 km-resolution spatial domain 2000 km x 2000 km wide. Considering a continuum of possible combinations of ESPs to assess and quantify the uncertainty and the natural variability associated with wind fields over 20 years of data, we run thousands of simulations of the ash dispersal model FALL3D. The simulated scenarios are combined to produce probability maps of airborne ash concentration, arrival time, and persistence of unfavorable conditions at different flight levels. The resulting maps can serve as an aid during the development of civil protection strategies, to decision-makers and aviation stakeholders, in assessing and preventing the potential impact of a future ash-rich eruption at Jan Mayen.