Leighton Watson

Post Doctoral FellowLeighton Watson

Internal Phone: 91879

Qualifications

Research Interests

My research focuses on how geophysical data (seismic and acoustic) can be combined with physics-based computational simulations to better monitor and understand natural hazards, with a particular emphasis on infrasound (low frequency acoustic waves that are below the frequency limit of human hearing) and volcanic eruptions. Motivated by interesting observations of natural activity, a desire to reduce risk, and a strong scientific curiosity, I develop numerical models that are derived from fundamental physics. I validate these models by acquiring my own data, or by comparing with existing geophysical data and visual observations, and then use the validated models to learn about the behaviour of complex volcanic systems in order to improve monitoring efforts and hazard assessment.

My current areas of research include detecting and characterizing snow avalanches with infrasound, simulating geophysical signals from pyroclastic density currents, and infrasonic precursors to lava fountaining at open vent volcanoes. Over the past year, I have also been working on modeling the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand (Aotearoa).

Recent Publications

  • Watson L. (2022) Likelihood of infecting or getting infected with COVID-19 as a function of vaccination status, as investigated with a stochastic model for New Zealand (Aotearoa) for Delta and Omicron variants. New Zealand Medical Journal http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.11.28.21266967.
  • Watson LM. (2022) Likelihood of infecting or getting infected with COVID-19 as a function of vaccination status, as investigated with a stochastic model for Aotearoa New Zealand for Delta and Omicron variants. New Zealand Medical Journal 135(1552): 89-100.
  • Watson LM. (2022) Simulating the impact of vaccination rates on the initial stages of a COVID-19 outbreak in Aotearoa New Zealand with a stochastic model. New Zealand Medical Journal 135(1552): 66-76.
  • Watson LM., Carpenter B., Thompson K. and Johnson JB. (2022) Using local infrasound arrays to detect plunging snow avalanches along the Milford Road, New Zealand (Aotearoa). Natural Hazards 111(1): 949-972. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-021-05086-w.
  • Watson LM., Iezzi AM., Toney L., Maher SP., Fee D., McKee K., Ortiz HD., Matoza RS., Gestrich JE. and Bishop JW. (2022) Volcano infrasound: progress and future directions. Bulletin of Volcanology 84(5) http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00445-022-01544-w.