Volcanic ash transport
Dr Helen Dacre
My main research interest is the long-range dispersion of pollutants in the environment. I’m particularly interested in the transport of volcanic ash particles away from erupting volcanoes and how they can lead to disruption of air travel. This interest started in 2010 following the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland. I’ve worked extensively on the evaluation of the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre model (NAME), testing its ability to simulate accurately the dispersion of volcanic ash in the atmosphere by comparing against ground based lidar observations, aircraft observations and satellite observations.
My research focus in the past couple of years has been on quantifying the uncertainty in volcanic ash simulations. This work was part of the NERC funded Probability, Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment (PURE) project. In this project we worked closely with the UK Met Office and statisticians in Durham to identity the factors that lead to the largest uncertainty in model simulations. My most recent project aims to build a tool which will calculate and communicate the along-flight ash dosage experienced by aircraft flying along trans-Atlantic flight paths. This project is funded by the NERC Environmental Risks to Infrastructure programme and is in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority and British Airways.