Volcanic Plume Detection Rapid Response
A fully automated volcano plume detection rapid response system developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory uses near real-time data from AIRS and triggers on threshold exceedances of sulfur dioxide (SO2). The system provides imagery of SO2, dust (a proxy for volcanic ash), clouds (which can mask the SO2 signal), and infrared. An image from the AIRS visible sensor is also provided for daytime only. The system generates email alerts and maintains an event archive. It also leverages the NASA Worldview display tool, showing volcano-related products from AIRS and other missions.
Monitoring Volcanic Emissions
Volcanic emissions have effects have on aviation, the environment, and Earth’s radiation balance. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ash data from AIRS are routinely used in near real-time (NRT) monitoring of volcanic emissions.
AIRS SO2 data are used operationally by NOAA to send notifications of high SO2 concentrations to the Washington D.C. Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAAC) for the purpose of aviation hazard mitigation. There are nine VAACs around the world that share information on the transport and distribution of volcanic ash. AIRS radiances are also used by the Support to Aviation Control Service (SACS), which is a free online service initiated by the European Space Agency for near real-time satellite monitoring of volcanic plumes. The radiances provide alerts of the presence of SO2 and are used in a retrieval system to provide estimates of SO2 column density as well as a volcanic ash index.
AIRS data are fundamental to the global monitoring of volcanic SO2 emissions, providing night-time and low-light coverage that augment the UV-based SO2 data records from the spaceborne OMI, OMPS, and TROPOMI instruments. SO2 data from AIRS are used in the comparison of ash detection algorithms, and to examine atmospheric processes affecting the separation of volcanic ash and SO2, a phenomena sometimes observed during volcanic eruptions and not fully understood.
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