Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Dr. Graham Tobin.

Co-Major Professor

Dr. Arlene Laing.

Keywords

Volcanology, Meteorology, Volcanic ash, Climatology, Atmospheric diffusion, Mesoscale modeling, Computer modeling

Abstract

Models of tephra fallout are used to assess volcanic hazards in advance of eruptions and in near-real-time. Current models often approximate the wind field using simplistic assumptions of the atmosphere that cannot account for typical variations in wind velocity that occur in time and three-dimensional space. Here, a widely used mesoscale atmospheric model is used to improve forecasts of the location of the major axis of dispersion for erupting plumes. The Pennsylvania State University-National Center for Atmospheric Research fifth-generation Mesoscale Model (MM5) specializes in atmospheric prediction for regions on the order of ten to hundreds of kilometers on a side. MM5 generates realistic wind fields based on the laws of conservation of mass, energy, and momentum, along with land surface data and atmospheric forecasts and observations.

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