Monitoring of volcanic activity from satellite: a Support to Aviation Control Service

Jos van Geffen
Quart. Bull. Council of European Aerospace Societies Oct. 2009, 19-21.


Volcanic eruptions can emit large quantities of rock fragments and fine particles (ash) into the atmosphere as well as several trace gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), bromine monoxide (BrO), and water vapour. These volcanic ejecta can have a considerable impact on air traffic safety and on the human health. Ground based monitoring is only carried out at a limited number of volcanoes and, in fact, most volcanoes are not monitored on a regular basis. Satellite observations of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and aerosols may therefore provide useful complementary information to assess, on a global level, the possible impact of volcanic eruptions on air traffic control and on public safety. Such is precisely the aim of the SACS programme (Support to Aviation Control Service).


   Hazard to Aviation
   The Support to Aviation Control Service
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created: 8 October 2008
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