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Abstract submitted for oral presentation at the
ESA ENVISAT symposium, 23-27 April 2007, Montreux.

Monitoring of volcanic activity from satellite as part of GSE PROMOTE

Jos van Geffen, Michel Van Roozendael (1)
Walter Di Nicolantonio, Lucia Tampellini (2)
Pieter Valks, Thilo Erbetseder (3)
Ronald van der A (4)
(1) BIRA-IASB, Brussels, Belgium
(2) CGS, Milano, Italy
(3) DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
(4) KNMI, De Bilt, The Netherlands

Volcanic eruptions may eject large amounts of ash (aerosols) and trace gases such as SO2 into the atmosphere. These ejecta can have considerable impact on the safety of air traffic and on human health. Ground-based monitoring is carried out at only a limited number of volcanoes; in particular the remotely located volcanoes are not monitored on a regular basis. Global observations of SO2 and aerosols derived from satellite measurements in near-real-time may therefore provide usefull complementary information to assess possible impacts of volcanic eruptions on air traffic control and public safety.

SO2 slant column on 25-27 Nov. 2004
Three-day composite of the SO2 slant column densities in Dobson Units over the Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo volcanoes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as derived from SCIAMACHY observations on 25-27 November 2004.
Within Stage II of GSE-PROMOTE, which started in July 2006, the Support to Aviation Control Service (SACS) focuses on the timely delivery of SO2 and volcanic aerosol data and images to a website. By combining the observations of SO2 and aerosols with meteorological forecast data, trajectories of volcanic plumes can be traced back to the origin of the emission and used to forecast the motion up to 3 days in advance. The data used are derived from observation by a number of satellite instruments: SO2 slant column data from SCIAMACHY, OMI and GOME-2; a volcanic aerosol indicator from SEVIRI.

On the basis of selection criteria of exceptional SO2 emissions, the Service will send notifications by e-mail to interested parties. The Service is primarily designed to support the activities of the European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) in Toulouse and London. To benefit future users and the general public, as well as for validation tasks, the Service focuses on geographic regions covering the volcanoes known to have erupted after the year 1800 worldwide.

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