Monday, September 29, 2014

Satellite Observations of Ash and SO2 from recent Volcanic Eruptions in Iceland

Hey guys,

this morning I submitted the following to the Finnish Remote Sensing Days 2014.

See you there!

Satellite Observations of Ash and SO2 from recent Volcanic Eruptions in Iceland
Janne Hakkarainen, Iolanda Ialongo, Simo Tukiainen, Rigel Kivi, Timo Ryyppö, Seppo Hassinen, and Johanna Tamminen

Finnish Meteorological Institute
P.O. BOX 505, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) has been measured from space since the 1982 eruption of El Chichòn [1]. Those measurements were carried out by Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), which had a limited SO2 detection sensitivity, since the discrete measurement wavelengths were designed for total ozone measurements. Since those days, next-generation space-borne spectrometers like GOME, SCIAMACHY and OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) have shown greatly improved SO2 detection sensitivity. These days, SO2 from volcanic eruptions and degassing are routinely monitored.

Satellite measurements of volcanic SO2 emissions can provide critical information for aviation hazard mitigation, particularly when ash detection techniques fail [2]. SO2 has low background making the volcanic SO2 plumes clearly distinguishable even long distance from source. For example systems like SACS (Support to Aviation Control Service, use SO2 as an indicator for volcanic activity and send email notifications when instrument specific thresholds are exceeded.

The fastest way to produce satellite data is to use the so-called direct-broadcast technique where the instruments measure the atmosphere and simultaneously send the data down to Earth for processing. These direct-readout data are provided about 15 min after the satellite overpasses the ground station. One of such systems was the Finnish OMI very fast delivery (VFD) service put together in 2004 for ozone and UV products. OMI VFD was updated in 2010—after the ill- famous Eyjafjallajökull eruption—for SO2 and aerosol products in order to monitor volcanic clouds. In 2011, OMI VFD system successfully monitored Grimsvötn eruption and both SO2 and aerosols were observed [3]. In 2014, new satellite observations from OMPS (Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite) onboard Suomi-NPP were added, and the name of the system was changed to SAMPO (Satellite measurements from Polar orbit,

In this paper, we present direct-readout satellite data from OMI VFD/SAMPO service. We show the volcanic ash and SO2 clouds from 2011 Grimsvötn explosive and 2014 Holuhraun fissure eruptions. In addition, we show comparisons against ground-based measurements from Helsinki (2011) and Northern Finland (2014).


[1] A.J. Krueger, N.A. Krotkov, and S.A. Carn (2008). El Chichon: the genesis of volcanic sulfur dioxide monitoring from space, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 175, 408-414, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.02.026.
[2] S.A. Carn, A.J. Krueger, N.A. Krotkov, K. Yang, and K. Evans (2009). Tracking volcanic sulfur dioxide clouds for aviation hazard mitigation. Natural Hazards, 51(2), 325-343, doi:10.1007/s11069-008-9228-4.
[3] V.-M. Kerminen, J.V. Niemi, H. Timonen, M. Aurela, A. Frey, S. Carbone, S. Saarikoski, K. Teinilä, J. Hakkarainen, J. Tamminen, J. Vira, M. Prank, M. Sofiev, and R. Hillamo (2011). Characterization of a volcanic ash episode in southern Finland caused by the Grimsvötn eruption in Iceland in May 2011, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 12227-12239, doi:10.5194/acp-11-12227-2011.

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