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Deterministic model forecasts do not convey to the end users the forecast uncertainty the models possess as a result of physics parameterizations, simplifications in model representation of physical processes, and errors in initial conditions. This lack of understanding leads to a level of uncertainty in the forecasted value when only a single deterministic model forecast is available. Increasing computational power and parallel software architecture allows multiple simulations to be carried out simultaneously that yield useful measures of model uncertainty that can be derived from ensemble model results. The Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integration Trajectory and Dispersion model has the ability to generate ensemble forecasts. A meteorological ensemble was formed to create probabilistic forecast products and an ensemble mean forecast for volcanic emissions from the Kilauea volcano that impacts the state of Hawai’i. The probabilistic forecast products show uncertainty in pollutant concentrations that are especially useful for decision-making regarding public health. Initial comparison of the ensemble mean forecasts with observations and a single model forecast show improvements in event timing for both sulfur dioxide and sulfate aerosol forecasts.
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