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Visualization of Volcanic Ash Clouds
July 1995 (vol. 15 no. 4)
pp. 34-39
Ash clouds resulting from volcanic eruptions are a serious hazard to aviation safety. In Alaska alone, there are over 40 active volcanoes whose eruptions may affect more than 40,000 flights using the great circle polar routes each year. The clouds are especially problematic because they are invisible to radar and nearly impossible to distinguish from weather clouds. The Arctic Region Supercomputing Center and the Alaska Volcano Observatory have collaborated to develop a system for predicting and visualizing the movement of volcanic ash clouds when an eruption occurs. The output from the model is combined with a digital elevation model to produce a realistic view of the ash cloud which may be examined interactively from any desired point of view at any time during the prediction period. This paper describes the visualization techniques employed in the system and the process used to produce an animated video flyby of the 1989 Mount Redoubt eruption which caused complete engine failure on a 747 passenger jet.

1. H. Tanaka, “Development of a Prediction Scheme for the Volcanic Ash Fall from Redoubt Volcano,” First Int’l Symp. on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety, Seattle, Wash., July 1991, US Geological Survey Circular 165, 58 pp.
2. H. Tanaka, K.G. Dean, , and S. Akasofu, “Prediction of the Movement of Volcanic Ash Clouds,” EOS Transactions, Vol. 74,May 18, 1993, Am. Geophys. Union, p. 231.
3. M. Astley and M. Roth, “Spline Animator: Smooth Camera Motion for AVS Animations,” AVS 94 Conf. Proc., May 1994, Advanced Visual Systems, Waltham, Mass., pp. 142-151.
4. M. Roth and R. Guritz, “Mount Redoubt Volcano Eruption,” Siggraph Video Review, Issue 105: Siggraph 94 Screening Room Science and Technology Program, Aug. 1994, ACM Siggraph, New York.

Index Terms:
visualization, simulation, animation, aviation, volcanoes
Citation:
Mitchell Roth, Rick Guritz, "Visualization of Volcanic Ash Clouds," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 34-39, July 1995, doi:10.1109/38.391488
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