Satellite monitoring of volcanic sulfur dioxide emissions for early warning of volcanic hazards

Valks, P., Valks, P., Hao, N., Van Geffen, J., Clerbaux, C., Clarisse, L., Coheur, P.-F., Loyola, D., Erbertseder, T., Zimmer, W. and Emmadi, S.: 2009,
IEEE J-STARS 2(3), 196-206. doi 10.1109/JSTARS.2009.2031120


Satellite-based remote sensing measurements of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) provide critical information for reducing volcanic hazards. This paper describes the use of SO2 measurements from the thermal infrared sounder IASI and the UV-VIS instrument GOME-2 in services related to aviation hazard and early warning of volcanic unrest. The high sensitivity of both instruments to SO2 allows the detection and global tracking of volcanic eruption plumes and makes them a valuable tool for volcanic aviation hazard mitigation. The GOME-2 and IASI SO2 data are produced in near-real time and distributed to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs) to assist them in issuing alerts to airlines and air traffic control organizations. Examples of recent eruptions affecting air traffic are presented including Jebel al Tair (Yemen, September 2007), Mount Okmok (Alaska, July 2008) and Mount Kasatochi (Alaska, August 2008). In addition, GOME-2 can detect changes in the SO2 emissions from passively degassing volcanoes and therefore provide critical information for hazard assessment. The monitoring of preeruptive degassing by GOME-2 is used in early warning of volcanic activity by a mobile volcano fast response system in combination with numerous other parameters, such as seismicity, deformation and thermal anomalies.


   1. Introduction
   2. The GOME-2 and IASI instruments
      A.  GOME-2 Instrument
      B.  IASI Instrument
   3. Retrieval of Sulfur Dioxidy
      A.  GOME-2 Retrieval Algorithm
      B.  IASI Retrieval Algorithm
      C.  Back trajectories calculation 
   4. Aviation Hazard Mitigation
      A.  Support to Aviation Control Service
      B.  Eruption of the Kasatochi Volcano
   5. Monitoring Volcanic Unrest
   6. Concluding Remarks

PDF file of the paper (11 pages; 1.1 MB)

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created: 25 February 2009
last modified: 18 February 2011