Titos, M., Martínez Montesinos, B., Barsotti, S., Sandri, L., Folch, A., Mingari, L., Macedonio, G., and Costa, A.: Long-term hazard assessment of explosive eruptions at Jan Mayen (Norway) and implications for air traffic in the North Atlantic, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 139–163, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-22-139-2022, 2022.
Type of publication
Article in journal
Year of publication
EGU - Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Volcanic eruptions are among the most jeopardizing natural events due to their potential impacts on life, assets, and the environment. In particular, atmospheric dispersal of volcanic tephra and aerosols during explosive eruptions poses a serious threat to life and has significant consequences for infrastructures and global aviation safety. The volcanic island of Jan Mayen, 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. 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 the volcanic island of 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. Each ESP value is randomly sampled following a continuous probability density function (PDF) based on the Jan Mayen geological record. Over 20 years of meteorological data is considered in order to explore the natural variability associated with weather conditions and is used to run thousands of simulations of the ash dispersal model FALL3D on a 2 km resolution grid. The simulated scenarios are combined to produce probability maps of airborne ash concentration, arrival time, and persistence of unfavorable conditions at flight levels 50 and 250 (FL050 and FL250). 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.