Volcanic eruptions in GDACS

Volcanic eruptions are currently not monitored in an automated way by GDACS. Over the years, the JRC has approached the scientific volcano communities in search of near real-time data on volcano eruption and humanitarian impact, but this has not resulted in an operational system yet.

While volcanic eruptions do not often cause large humanitarian disasters, they have the potential of causing extreme ones. Since 1980, volcanic eruptions caused 21800 dead in Colombia (1985), 1746 dead in Cameroon; affected over 1m people in 1991 in Philippines, over 300000 in Nicaragua (1992), Ecuador (2006) and Indonesia (1982) (source: CRED/EMDAT). Also humanitarian response is not negligible: we all remember the large event in Goma with the Nyiragongo in 2002 for which US$ 40m was committed. But since then, funds were committed in 2005, 2006 (US$ 8m), 2010 (US$ 2m) and 2009 (source: FTS). Recently, the Nyiragongo became active again and because of a complex crisis in the area and breakdown of the local volcano observatory, space-based observation is the only alternative.  

Through a series of scientific workshops on the topic of near-real time humanitarian impact assessment of volcanic eruptions, the JRC is exploring prototype systems that can potentially contribute to GDACS.

 Workshop on Satellite-Data-Driven Detection, Tracking and Modelling of Volcanic Hot Spots

Between the 28 and 30 May, 2013, a workshop on Advanced Satellite Modelling of Volcanic Hot Spots was held at the Maison International of the Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand. The title of the workshop was “Workshop on Satellite-Data-Driven Detection, Tracking and Modelling of Volcanic Hot Spots”. 

The workshop aim was, within the theme of satellite detection and modelling of active lavas, to: 

  1. Present, review and collate all capabilities in the remote sensing and modelling communities; 
  2. Through round table discussion, identify key issues that currently need to be addressed; 
  3. Identify standards and formats, and a platform, to allow products to behanded between each group for comparison, error testing, full probabilistic appraisals and ingestion into crisis response models; 
  4. Agree on a common data set and carry out a test during which data and products are fed through the chain from remote sensor through modeller to operational responder. 
  5. To formalise a working group with a common interest in satellite-data-driven detection, tracking and modelling of volcanic hot spots.

The working group comprised 48 delegates from France (including Réunion), Italy, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal (Azores) and Iceland. The group, as listed in Annex 4b, also included seven delegates from the USA and one from Japan. Thematically, the group comprised four fields: 

  • Hot Spot Detection and Deliverables (nine delegates); 
  • Towards Operational Tracking and Dissemination Systems (seven delegates); 
  • Lava Flow Modelling and Deliverables (seven delegates); 
  • Crisis Management: Requirements (seven delegates). 

Added to this there were the three conveners: 

  • Andrew Harris (LMV, Université Blaise Pascal); 
  • Philippe Labazuy (OPGC, Université Blaise Pascal); 
  • Tom De Groeve (IPSC, European Commission Joint Research Centre). 

The group were supportive of the following actions: 

  1. The establishment of a formal working group, or at the very least a series of follow up meetings, and establishment of an email distribution list to allow up-dates, information sharing and discussion of logistical, scientific and operational issues. 
  2. The identification of common data sets on which members of the group can run their various algorithms and models to produce a library for demonstration of product types available and comparison. 
  3. Proposal of a book to IAVCEI special publications in volcanology series collating: 
    1. the algorithms, models and response experiences presented at the meeting, 
    2. the results of the group exercise (i.e., the library of item 2), and 
    3. the initial findings and recommendations of the working group. 

Currently support for a follow up meeting, likely to be held in Catania during 2014, is being discussed. 

 Key documents

Final Report of the 2013 Workshop on Satellite-Data-Driven Detection, Tracking and Modeling of Volcanic Hot Spots