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Observing and Forecasting Vog Dispersion from Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii

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  • 1 University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • | 2 Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, USGS, Hawaii National Park, Hawaii
  • | 3 University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

Emissions from Kīlauea volcano, known locally as “vog” for volcanic smog, pose significant environmental and health risks to the Hawaiian community. The Vog Measurement and Prediction (VMAP) project was conceived to help mitigate the negative impacts of Kīlauea’s emissions. To date, the VMAP project has achieved the following milestones: i) created a custom application of the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model (HYSPLIT, hereafter Vog model) to produce statewide forecasts of the concentration and dispersion of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and sulfate aerosol from Kīlauea volcano; ii) developed an ultraviolet (UV) spectrometer array to provide near-real-time volcanic gas emission rate measurements for use as input into the Vog model; iii) developed and deployed a stationary array of ambient SO2 and meteorological sensors to record the spatial characteristics of Kīlauea’s gas plume in high temporal and spatial resolution for model verification; and iv) developed web-based tools to facilitate the dissemination of observations and model forecasts to provide guidance for safety officials and the public, and to raise awareness of the potential hazards of volcanic emissions to respiratory health, agriculture, and general aviation.

Wind fields and thermodynamic data from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model provide input to the Vog model, with a statewide grid spacing of 3 km and a 1-km grid covering the island of Hawaii. Validation of the Vog model forecasts is accomplished with reference to data from Hawaii State Department of Health ground-based air quality monitors. VMAP results show that this approach can provide useful guidance for the people of Hawaii.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Steven Businger, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 2525 Correa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822, E-mail: businger@hawaii.edu

Abstract

Emissions from Kīlauea volcano, known locally as “vog” for volcanic smog, pose significant environmental and health risks to the Hawaiian community. The Vog Measurement and Prediction (VMAP) project was conceived to help mitigate the negative impacts of Kīlauea’s emissions. To date, the VMAP project has achieved the following milestones: i) created a custom application of the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model (HYSPLIT, hereafter Vog model) to produce statewide forecasts of the concentration and dispersion of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and sulfate aerosol from Kīlauea volcano; ii) developed an ultraviolet (UV) spectrometer array to provide near-real-time volcanic gas emission rate measurements for use as input into the Vog model; iii) developed and deployed a stationary array of ambient SO2 and meteorological sensors to record the spatial characteristics of Kīlauea’s gas plume in high temporal and spatial resolution for model verification; and iv) developed web-based tools to facilitate the dissemination of observations and model forecasts to provide guidance for safety officials and the public, and to raise awareness of the potential hazards of volcanic emissions to respiratory health, agriculture, and general aviation.

Wind fields and thermodynamic data from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model provide input to the Vog model, with a statewide grid spacing of 3 km and a 1-km grid covering the island of Hawaii. Validation of the Vog model forecasts is accomplished with reference to data from Hawaii State Department of Health ground-based air quality monitors. VMAP results show that this approach can provide useful guidance for the people of Hawaii.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Steven Businger, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 2525 Correa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822, E-mail: businger@hawaii.edu
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