Ground Observation of Tephra Particles: On the Use of Weather Radar for Estimating Volcanic Ash Distribution
Ratih Indri Hapsari*,, Masahiro Iida**, Masahide Muranishi**, Mariko Ogawa**, Magfira Syarifuddin***, Masato Iguchi***, and Satoru Oishi**
*Department of Civil Engineering, State Polytechnic of Malang
Jl. Soekarno Hatta 9, Malang 65141, Indonesia
**Kobe University, Hyogo, Japan
***Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Kagoshima, Japan
This paper reports a preliminary attempt to determine volcanic ash particle size distribution using the video drop size detector (VDSD) for estimating volcanic ash amount with X-band radar. The VDSD records an image showing the size and number of particles falling into the aperture by a charge coupled device camera. Size distribution spectra of a range of particles from fine ash to small lapilli were derived in discrete form from the VDSD observation. The parameterization of the particle size distribution following Gamma function was done using volcanic ash of eruptions at the Sakurajima Volcano between December 13–21, 2014. Three Gamma distribution parameters were determined analytically. The analytical results revealed a continuous distribution of particles characterized by shape, intercept, and slope. The distribution was used to determine volcanic mass concentration, ground deposit weight, and reflectivity. Verification of these results with X-band radar observations showed that the reflectivity obtained from analytical results is similar to that from radar observation. However, the ground deposit weight from analysis was overestimated, compared with the real weight of ash deposit on the ground. The algorithm proposed in this study is expected to provide a practical method for estimating ash distribution in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption using radar-reflectivity for cases where direct measurement at the location is not possible. An overview of the algorithm for volcanic ash retrieval from X-band radar observations is also presented.
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