Satellite-based detection of volcanic sulphur dioxide from recent eruptions in Central and South America

Loyola, D., Van Geffen, J., Valks, P., Erbertseder, T., Van Roozendael, M., Thomas, W., Zimmer, W. and Wißkirchen, K.: 2007,
Advances in Geosciences 14, 35-40.


Volcanic eruptions can emit large amounts of rock fragments and fine particles (ash) into the atmosphere, as well as several gases, including sulphur dioxide (SO2). These ejecta and emissions are a major natural hazard, not only to the local population, but also to the infrastructure in the vicinity of volcanoes and to aviation. Here, we describe a methodology to retrieve quantitative information about volcanic SO2 plumes from satellite-borne measurements in the UV/Visible spectral range. The combination of a satellite-based SO2 detection scheme and a state-of-the-art 3D trajectory model enables us to confirm the origin of gaseous and particulate volcanic material and to estimate the plume height and the effective emission height. This is demonstrated by case-studies for four selected volcanic eruptions in South and Central America, using the GOME, SCIAMACHY and GOME-2 instruments.


   1. Introduction
   2. SO2 colomn retrieval
   3. Trajectory analysis
   4. Case studies
      4.1  Popocatepetl, 12-15 December 2000
      4.2  El Reventador, 2-5 November 2002 and 7 May 2007
      4.3  Sierra Negra, 23-24 October 2005
   5. Conclusions

PDF file of the paper (6 pages; 1 MB)

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created: 25 June 2007
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