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The workshop is intended to bring the growing community of volcanic eruption modelers together with experimentalists and observationalists to accomplish two specific objectives:

1. Ensure that modelers are provided the most up-to-date values of magmatic parameters on the basis of recent experimental results and observations, and

2. Establish a standardized set of model "experiments" with identical magma and conduit characteristics and with a common protocol so that model results can be subsequently meaningfully compared and evaluated.

The state of the art in modeling of volcanic systems has progressed to the point where it would now be very beneficial to be able to explore the sensitivity of modelled volcanic conduit systems to magma parametric values, overall system geometry, and most critically, fundamental physical formulation and underlying assumptions. In parallel with the efforts of the modeling community, a growing number of experimental results are emerging that bear directly on the parameterization of volcanic eruption models. It is thus possible to abandon many of the "if-then" scenarios traditionally resorted to by modellers, and use real-world values for magma parameters in an attempt to more realistically simulate natural magmatic conditions and thus better understand the processes involved in actual eruptions. Recent advances in observational techniques and analysis of natural volcanic products has also added to the arsenal of information that can be used to better calibrate, constrain and/or evaluate the performance of numerical models.

It is imperative that all models use the same values for fundamental parameters so that their individual performance can be assessed. By running models in this way, the differences in results will reflect contrasting formulations, and thus provide insights into the processes being modeled. A specific set of "experiments" will be devised by the modelers at the workshop using a common protocol (but with individual approaches and formulations). The objectives of the workshop will thus be to produce a standard set of parameters and a set of model "experiments" to be performed by the all models. With this result, modeling participants will return to their labs, and in the following months, will perform the full suite of model runs, providing the specific set of output required by the standard protocol. The results will be subsequently compiled and evaluated to determine the sources of differences in model output. (Based on prior experience with model intercomparison workshops, there are sure to be major differences.) The results of the model runs will be brought together at a special session in April, 2003 at the joint AGU-EGS-EUG meeting. This will be a good venue for displaying the results and highlighting the critical differences in model formulation that bear on our understanding of magmatic processes prior to and during volcanic eruption. Modelers will then be able to revisit their models to explore the sensitivity of their formulations to variations in functionalization so that the key differences can be pinpointed. It is expected that once this is done, it will point to specific magma characteristics that are insufficiently understood. This, in turn, will spur experimentalists to return to their labs to focus attention on the most critical parameters identified by the model intercomparison results.

A workshop report will be written and posted on the web, and a short peer-reviewed paper will be written defining the protocol and standardized constraints. However, a major review paper will be written after the second workshop, in which the detailed results of the model runs and the assessment of the comparison will be published. In addition, modeling groups will publish specific papers individually and in collaboration as appropriate.

It is expected that a synthesis of the results of this model intercomparison activity will lead to identification of a number of critical conceptual, experimental, and observational gaps. As these are brought to light, the research community can most effectively move forward to address these gaps in subsequent research within the experimental and observational, as well as modeling sectors.


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Last modified: Tuesday May 08, 2007