Operational monitoring of SO2 emissions using the GOME-2 satellite instrument

Meike Rix, Pieter Valks, Jos Van Geffen, Cordelia Maerker, Katrin Seidenberger, Thilo Erbertseder, Michel Van Roozendael, Nan Hao, Diego Loyola
in: Proceedings of the 2009 EUMETSAT Meteorological Satellite Conference
21--25 September 2009, Bath, England, EUMETSAT publication P.55.


Satellite-based remote sensing measurements of atmospheric sulphur dioxide (SO2) provide valuable information on anthropogenic pollution and volcanic activity. Sensors like GOME-2 on MetOp-A make it possible to monitor SO2 emissions on a global scale and daily basis. SO2 total column amounts are retrieved in near-real time using the UV range of backscattered sunlight making it possible to detect and track volcanic eruption plumes. Trajectory matching is applied to relate detected SO2 to particular volcanoes and to estimate eruption parameters such as the height of the volcanic plume. Taking this information as input, dispersion modelling is used to forecast the motion of the volcanic plume. The high sensitivity of the GOME-2 instrument to SO2 allows measuring anthropogenic SO2 in the boundary layer and volcanic SO2 from non-eruptive degassing. This can provide critical information for early warning of volcanic hazards as changes in the SO2 emissions can indicate increased volcanic activity.


   Retrieval of sulfur dioxide
   Trajectory matching and dispersion modelling
   Kasatochi eruption
   Volcanic degassing and air pollution
   Concluding remarks
PDF file of the paper (8 pages; 430 kB)

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