This study analyzes the movement and dispersion of airborne volcanic ash within the North Pacific region by simulating volcanic plumes from 22 volcanoes using the PUFF ash-tracking model. The model is run hourly using archived wind field data between 1994-2001 and the results are analyzed with statistical and GIS software. Maps and statistics are generated revealing the distribution of simulated airborned ash particles at 6 and 24 hr intervals, constraining the likely direcion and distance a volcanic ash cloud may propagate from a given volcano. The results indicate wind field charactistics during and after an eruption may have a larger effect on volcanic cloud growth rate than the eruption dynamics. Wind field and statistical analyses show North Pacific ash cloud distribution is strongly affected by the intensity, migration, and location of the Polar jet stream and associated cyclones. Although often used operationally during an eruption crisis, the PUFF model can also be used as an effective research tool and provide airborne ash hazard mitigation for towns, airports, and air traffic within the North Pacific region.
Thesis (M.S.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2002
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