This work package will develop the tools and analysis techniques to rapidly combine and interpret meteorological measurements and ground-based remote sensing of volcanic ash. This will provide essential information to volcanologists and operational agencies requiring near-real time interpretation of volcanic plume characteristics. Specific objectives are:

  • Develop and implement retrieval algorithms to derive volcanic ash properties from mobile LiDAR and Ceilometer instruments.
  • Develop a systematic process for deriving volcanic plume properties from integration of LiDAR, ceilometer, radar and dispersion model data. 
  • Demonstrate the application of mobile LiDAR and ceilometer measurements for characterising resuspended volcanic ash.

This WP is working towards the development of an operational retrieval algorithm that will identify aerosol layers and the microphysical properties of the particulates within the layer in near real time. The retrieval brings together forward modelling, observations, and machine learning concepts.

The  retrieval is designed around the current lidar remote sensing capabilities of the Icelandic and UK Meteorological Offices and that of the UK’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science, but in principle can be expanded to include other remote sensing techniques specifically radiometry and radar.

The forward model provides a statistically adjustable atmosphere the remote sensing properties of which can be compared to those observed by the remote sensing instrumentation. Machine learning provides a tool by which adjustments to this statistical atmosphere can be made efficiently and automatically to provide the output of the microphysical properties and associated uncertainty, of observed particulate layers.

The current standing, midway through the project, is that the computational environment required to develop the statistical model atmosphere and to perform the analysis is being gathered while the automated measurement processing software is being optimised and generalised. 

A mobile observatory has been designed and instrumented but due to supplier difficulties and the impact of COVID 19 will not be operational until summer 2021.