Summary and Ambition
Project Summary – The European Network of Observatories and Research Infrastructures for Volcanology (EUROVOLC) will construct an integrated and harmonized European volcanological community able to fully support, exploit and build-upon existing and emerging national and pan-European research infrastructures, including eInfrastructures of the European Supersite volcanoes. The harmonization includes linking scientists and stakeholders and connecting still isolated volcanological infrastructures located at in situ volcano observatories (VO) and volcanological research institutions (VRIs). EUROVOLC will overcome fragmentation at various levels, including community, project and discipline fragmentation by addressing four main themes: Community building, volcanoatmosphere interaction, sub-surface processes and volcanic crisis preparedness and risk management. Examples of networking activities under these themes include collaboration and networking between VOs, VRIs and civil protection agencies, networking of atmospheric gas and aerosol observations as well as observations of subsurface processes, and initiation of access to multidisciplinary observations from Krafla Volcano Laboratory as a test bed. Joint research activities include production of services to initialize volcanic ash transport and dispersal models during eruptions, integrated modelling of pre-eruption data, and a complete catalogue of European Volcanoes. Trans-national access to European Volcano observatories will be facilitated and virtual access to various modelling and assessment tools for responding to volcanic unrest and eruptions will be offered. Through these activities EUROVOLC will integrate the European volcanological community and open up and provide a wider, simplified, and more efficient access to key, multidisciplinary European research infrastructures located at leading VOs and VRIs to conduct improved volcanological research, drive best practice at volcanological observatories and open pathways for enterprise to better exploit georesources in volcanic areas such as geothermal energy.
The ambition of EUROVOLC is to serve as focal point for a fragmented volcanological community, promoting cooperation, collaboration, integration and solving the present fragmentation problem. The proposed networking activities aim at facilitating this ambition and integrating the European volcanological community by providing a broad, simplified, and more efficient access to key, multidisciplinary European research infrastructures. EUROVOLC will make a major step toward EPOS objectives, in the sense that the final aim of the proposed NA, TNA/VA and JRA activities includes providing networking and training of scientists and technicians, fostering a culture of co-operation between project participants and the volcanological community in general. EUROVOLC will create a strong community structure focused on raising new generations of European scientists with a solid collaborative spirit and who will benefit from an integrated community, learn in different research environments and establish contacts with key players within the volcanological community including key actors of volcano monitoring, hazard assessment and crisis management. Outside the proposal consortium, best practices can be easily transferred to the whole volcanological community thanks to the networking activities involving international initiatives (e.g. IAVCEI, WOVO, GVM, EUDAT).
Finally, through integration of the long experience in eruption crisis management acquired by EUROVOLC’s VOs and VRIs, we will consolidate Europe’s experience in the management of extreme volcanic hazards, providing a unique, tested and proven expertise of direct relevance to civil and commercial disaster and emergency managers. This expertise could be leveraged through seminars to industry/government on crisis management, and opens potential for consultancy-based innovation to improve European security.
In the Networking and Joint Research Activities a wealth of multidisciplinary data will be made accessible, requiring a policy on data standards and access. Therefore EUROVOLC will participate in the Pilot on Open Research Data, which requires a Data Management Plan (DMP) be defined for the data networked and collected in EUROVOLC, as well as for the JRA outcomes. The DMP will deal with the data creation, methods, standards, access provisions and curation, to ensure the data will be findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (FAIR). EUROVOLC utilizes the services of the European Plate Observing System’s (EPOS) framework to curate and preserve the data, even after the end of the project. Thus, wherever possible, the project will adopt the existing standards and services of EPOS, in particular the services of the Volcano Thematic Core Service (VO-TCS). The DMP will therefore adhere to the open data paradigm by following the data policy and access rules defined in EPOS. Generation of the DMP will be managed in WP1 and submitted as Deliverable D1.4 at month 6 and reviewed and updated on a yearly basis during the project.
Challenges that EUROVOLC will address
Volcanology research is conducted by three main communities, (i) volcano observatories with responsibilities to monitor volcanic hazard, (ii) research institutes who collaborate closely with volcano observatories and (iii) a wider volcanology community with less direct contact with observatories. At the present stage, access to observatory infrastructure is challenging for the wider community, while scientific advances made in the wider community do not automatically penetrate into observatory activities to benefit society. The fragmentation hinders a) community-wide propagation of best practices regarding data standardization and high quality observational infrastructures, and b) methodologies and protocols for communicating volcanic hazard to stakeholders (i.e. decision-makers, hazard managers, population and media).
Recent European research projects such as FUTUREVOLC (which focussed on Icelandic volcanoes) and MED-SUV (which focussed on Italian volcanoes) are typically run for a limited period of three to four years by independent groups of researchers with no resources to sustain continuation or knowledge transfer to the wider community, other than publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Many of their advances are therefore not automatically picked up by the wider volcanology community.
Volcanic research covers a wide range of disciplines including seismology, geodesy, geochemistry and petrology, gas geochemistry, rock and fluid mechanics, earth observation and meteorology. Increasingly social science methods are incorporated into problem-solving approaches and to promote knowledge into action. Integration of these disciplines is challenging as different techniques and language are used, but the best insights into volcanic processes and hazards come from a multidisciplinary approach.
Lack of a community test-bed for testing and validation of new models and integrated techniques: Before a research advance can be deployed operationally within an observatory it must be rigorously tested and validated in a wide range of situations. The community currently lacks a common test bed for such studies.