MareNostrum 4 makes forecasts on the ash clouds and aerosols of the La Palma volcano for the emergency services

20 October 2021
The supercomputer considers different emission scenarios, which allow an idea of the impact and how the volcanic clouds are moving.

MareNostrum 4 simulates the circulation of the ash in the atmosphere and the gases emitted by the volcano in the following hours and days.

The supercomputer of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), MareNostrum 4, offers daily forecasts to the scientific committee of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (PEVOLCA) on the movements that the emissions arising from the Cumbre Vieja volcano will have. These forecasts come from a collaboration between the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and BSC, and are intended to help the authorities in making decisions aimed at limiting the damage caused by the eruption.

On a daily basis, through this collaboration, the supercomputer models the circulation that the ash and gases emitted by the volcano will have in the atmosphere in the following hours and days. To make these forecasts, a model developed within the scope of the ChEESE project is used, which combines emission data from the volcano with meteorological predictions.

The model used to carry out these simulations has been developed by the volcanologist from the Barcelona Institute of Geosciences of the CSIC and former BSC researcher, Arnau Folch, who writes a daily report based on the data provided by the supercomputer for PEVOLCA.

For this, he has the collaboration of the BSC researcher Leonardo Alejandro Mingari: "MareNostrum allows us to generate multiple forecasts taking into account different scenarios depending on the volcanic activity. In this way, it is possible to provide several relevant products for the prediction of the dispersion of ash and gases emitted by the volcano under different situations and allows authorities and emergency services to react more quickly and efficiently in decision-making in order to reduce potential damage ".

The calculations performed on the BSC supercomputer could be done with less powerful computers, but the results would take much longer to arrive and would not be of use to the emergency services.