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First international training school on convective and volcanic clouds detection, monitoring and modeling

4 - 9 October 2015, Castiglione del Lago, Italy

Working on the topic of observability and analyses of volcanic emission dispersion, the “first international training school on convective and volcanic clouds” came to my attention, as it focuses on detection and observation as well as monitoring and modeling of those special cloud events. My special interest was especially attracted by the aspects of volcanic cloud observations from all different platforms in conjunction with plume and transport modeling, from which I expected both a broader view on the state of the art research and a valuable insight into retrieval techniques and most notably, specific new ideas on the integration of observations into forecast models.

Thanks to the travel grant provided by the Graduate School of Geosciences I got the chance to participate in the training school, which took place in the medieval town of Castiglione del Lago in Umbria (Italy) right beside the tectonic originated Lake Trasimeno from 4 to 9 October 2015. The school was organized by Island of Meetings and the committee consisting of four experienced and outstanding researchers – Riccardo Biondi (Wegener Center – Uni Graz, Austria), Stefano Corradini (INGV, Italy), Nina Iren Kristiansen (NILU, Norway), and Rita Nogherotto (ICTP, UNESCO).

The aim of the school was to provide an overview of the state of the art techniques and methods for observations, retrievals, modelling, and physical theory of convective and volcanic clouds to 25 participants. In total 13 researchers gave one to two lectures about their field of research – partly more general and introductory, partly more specific and advanced. In addition eight participants were invited to introduce research topic in short presentations. My talk was about “4D-var analyses of volcanic emissions by assimilating remote sensing observations”, for which I got good feedback from both, modelers and observation experts. The remaining students presented their work during poster sessions. Thus, everybody of the internationally mixed group took the opportunity for networking and to exchange experiences and scientific ideas. Furthermore, the work on computer exercises helped to deepen the understanding by implementing simplified examples and visualizing interesting data. During joint lunch and dinner there was time for additional communication with students and lecturers even beyond the scientific context.

The participation in this training school is a rewarding experience for myself and my expectations were fully met. I could broaden my knowledge especially in the field of volcanic emission satellite retrievals as well as volcanic plume modelling, which enhances the potential to derive better estimations of the first guess source term. Thus, the information I gained during this week is very valuable for my own scientific work. The detailed insight into the field of convective cloud research, especially in terms of observations, will be also profitable for me, since aerosol and cloud distinction is a well-known challenge I have to deal with.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to GSGS for funding my travels and participation in this absolutely beneficial training school.


Anne Caroline Lange

PhD student

PhD project: “Observability and analyses of sudden aerosol injections by ensemble 4D variational assimilation of remote sensing data”

Rhenish Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Cologne

Oral presentation: “4D-Var analyses of volcanic emissions by assimilating remote sensing observations”