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Bristol 2013

2nd  NEMOH Network School
Forward Modelling of Volcanic Processes
17-24 September 2013

The lessons and practical sessions at the core of the 2nd NEMOH Network School took place from 19-22 September 2013 at the University of Bristol in England.  Associated events including an informal Matlab session September 17, a NEMOH mini-conference September 18, and the NEMOH Marie Curie Open Day September 24, extended the school to a total of eight days. 17 NEMOH fellows and 15 affiliates participated, from 18 different institutions in 12 different countries.

The 2nd NEMOH Network School included an introduction to forward modelling in general as well lessons on modelling applied to particular volcanic processes such as magma intrusion, flow up conduits, pyroclastic flows and ash dispersal.  There was a lot of emphasis on hands-on activities where students learned from writing, modifying and running codes on computers.  In the final practical session the fellows were coding two-dimensional wave propagation, starting from a blank page.

There is a lot of expertise in modelling within NEMOH and ten of the twelve teachers came from institutions in the NEMOH network.  Additional speakers were Prof. Agust Gudmundsson from Royal Holloway who spoke about modelling stress fields around magma intrusions and emphasized the importance of insights and physical parameters determined from fieldwork.  The other external speaker was Dr. Frances Beckett from the UK Met Office who spoke about dispersion modelling and the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), which forecasts volcanic ash dispersal over an area covering Iceland, UK and the north-eastern part of the North Atlantic Ocean.

It is important that scientists develop soft skills as well as technical skills in order to effectively communicate their science to their peers, decision-makers and the general public.  In the NEMOH School at Bristol we dedicated an afternoon to a lecture and exercises in communication skills led by Prof. Kathy Cashman. All participants presented posters during the school and wrote abstracts that formed the basis for feedback and discussion.  The NEMOH fellows also presented talks at a mini-conference on September 18 for which they received feedback from staff and their peers.

The Marie Curie Open Day at the end of the school also helped to hone skills in communicating to students and public with little technical knowledge.

On September 23, while the NEMOH supervisory board were meeting, the NEMOH fellows and associates prepared for the Marie Curie Open Day and then went canoeing in Bristol harbour.  This was followed by dinner bringing together board members, fellows and associates at a Victorian swimming pool.