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Mount St. Helens plume dispersion based on trajectory analysesThe major eruption of Mount St. Helens on 18 May 1980, had sufficient energy to traverse the troposphere (9 km above the mountain top) and to penetrate an additional 10 km into the stratosphere. This plume, initially quasi-vertical, rapidly acquired the horizontal momentum of the environmental winds and suffered differential rotation due to a positive speed shear in the troposphere and a negative shear in the stratosphere. Advected rapidly eastward by the undulating jet stream, the lower stratospheric portion of the plume circled the globe at an average speed of approx. 25 m s/l, reentering North America over California in early June. During the same period, the uppermost portion slowly looped over the northwestern United States and then moved westward over the northern Pacific Ocean. Thus, plume dispersion was initiated by the vertical shears of the horizontal winds which converted a nearly vertical plume to a thin, quasi-horizontal, quasi-zonal lamina. Horizontal shears then dispersed the lamina meridionally while small-scale, wave turbulent motions spread it slowly vertically.
Document ID
19830003277
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Danielsen, E. F. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 11, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 1982
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Langley Research Center Atmospheric Effects and Potential Climatic Impact of the 1980 Eruptions of Mt. St. Helens
Subject Category
ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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