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Dr Matt Watson - University of Bristol. Bristol, , GB

Dr Matt Watson Dr Matt Watson

Reader in Geophysical Natural Hazards | University of Bristol


Investigating volcano eruptions as part of a global taskforce

Areas of Expertise (6)

Flight Disruptions From Ash


Volcanic Eruptions


Ash Clouds

Air Measurements


Matt Watson is based in the School of Earth Sciences, where his work revolved around volcanoes, particularly ash clouds. His extensive studies include the volcanoes in Central and Southern America, and he was part of the post-eruption taskforce for the Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala in 2018. His research involves the use of satellite images and other remote sources including drones to predict the movement of volcanic eruptions and of ash clouds.

Among the projects Dr Watson has been involved in are studies of the impact of ash clouds on jet engines, developing new instruments to detect the movement of ash in the wind and to inform piloting decisions, examining the change in terrain that results from a volcanic eruption, and exploring the contentious process of deliberately using volcanic eruptions to cool the climate. His expertise is being used in a TV series called 'The Greatest Shown on Earth', which explores ash clouds linked to the Fuego volcano eruption.






GUATEMALA VOLCANO: Interview with Matthew Watson Testing Drones in Bénoué National Park in Northern Cameroon 02 Dr Matt Watson  - Principal Investigator For SPICE Matt Watson   2nd Speaker opt Volcano Plume Hunting in Guatemala



Media Appearances (5)

Bali volcano latest: Mount Agung could remain on brink of major eruption for weeks as ash continues to spew, warn volcanologists

The Independent  online


Dr Matt Watson, from the University of Bristol, said: “The truth is it could peter out tomorrow. I don’t think that’s particularly likely, but it’s not impossible.

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NASA Satellite Captures First Full View of New South Pacific Island

The Weather Channel  online


Matt Watson, a professor at the University of Bristol, says the new land is unstable and vulnerable to waves and ocean currents. "It's formed by fragmentation of magma, so it's basically small pieces of rock on top of each other that have formed an island," Watson told the BBC.

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Hunga Tonga volcano eruption forms new S Pacific island

BBC News  online


Matt Watson, a reader in natural hazards at the University of Bristol, said the surface of the island was likely to be "highly unstable". "It will be very loose and unconsolidated material," he said. "It's formed by fragmentation of magma, so it's basically small pieces of rock on top of each other that have formed an island.

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Could global warming SAVE mankind? Nuclear winter caused by a natural disaster would be reversed by pumping out greenhouse gases, study claims

Daily Mail  online


Dr Matt Watson of the University of Bristol added: 'It is an interesting idea, with an appropriate level of careful caveats, and probably worthy of further investigation, not least because it broadens the debate on climate engineering to countering natural, as opposed to anthropogenic threat.

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Fake Volcano Can Solve Climate Problems, Scientists Say

FOX News  online


"With strong government support and in an emergency situation...the fastest we could deploy this system is two decades," Watson told Reuters, adding that a minimum 10 to 20 balloons globally would be needed to reduce atmospheric temperature by 2 degrees.

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Articles (5)

Evaluating nonlinear maximum likelihood optimal estimation uncertainty in cloud and aerosol remote sensing

Atmospheric Science Letters

2020 Uncertainty estimates are important when retrieving properties of clouds and aerosols from satellites measurements. These measurements must be interpreted using a form of inverse theory, such as optimal estimation. In atmospheric remote sensing these inverse methods often assume that the forward model is linear in the region of uncertainty.

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3D Reconstruction of Volcanic Ash Clouds Using Simulated Satellite Imagery

EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts

2020 Volcanic ash suspended in the atmosphere can pose a significant hazard to aviation, with the potential to cause severe damage or shutdown of jet engines. Forecasts of ash contaminated airspace are generated using atmospheric transportation and dispersion models, among the inputs to these models are eruption source parameters such as cloud-top height and cloud volume.

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Assimilating SEVIRI Satellite Observation into the Name‐III Dispersion Model to Improve Volcanic Ash Forecast

Techniques for Disaster Risk Management and Mitigation

2020 In recent years, the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) conducted a study for monitoring volcanic ash clouds using the Lagrangian atmospheric dispersion model called NAME (Numerical Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling Environment). The objective of this chapter is to investigate and enhance the predictive ability of the NAME‐III dispersion model to forecast the volcanic ash plumes by incorporating MSG‐SEVIRI satellite‐derived observations into the NAME model.

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BVLOS Operations of Fixed-Wing UAVs for the Collection of Volcanic Ash Above Fuego Volcano, Guatemala

AIAA Scitech 2020 Forum

2020 This paper presents a series of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flights that came about as the culmination of a method development project, collecting ash from volcanic plumes. Ash sampling from within plumes provides vital knowledge to improve volcanic ash-dispersion models, outputs that are used in hazard assessments including air traffic control.

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Determining the three-dimensional structure of a volcanic plume using Unoccupied Aerial System (UAS) imagery

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

2019 This study presents a photogrammetric method for 3D reconstruction of a volcanic plume outline to retrieve its spatial properties. A dataset of sequential multi-view images was collected, using a drone-mounted camera, for a small-scale volcanic plume emitted from Volcán Pacaya, Guatemala.

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