Tracking Ash Plumes

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Data pulled from several satellites has been put to use in understanding the behavior of ash plumes from the recent eruption of Grímsvötn in Iceland.  Measurements from various satellites were used to understand the spread, extension, concentration and movement of debris spewed from Grímsvötn.

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute KNMI used data from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) on Europe’s MSG-2 satellite to visualize how ash from Grímsvötn spread to Scandinavia and Scotland between the 22 and 25th of May.

The polar-orbiting satellite, Envisat, captured the ash cloud north of Scotland using the MERIS optical instrument onboard.

The ash cloud north of Scotland as observed by the MERIS instrument on ESA's Envisat satellite.   Credits: ESA

The ash cloud north of Scotland as observed by the MERIS instrument on ESA's Envisat satellite. Credits: ESA

Also onboard Envisat, the Sciamachy instrument provided data used to visualize aerosol dispersal between May 22nd and 25th.

The Grímsvötn ash plume can be followed using aerosol information from the Sciamachy instrument on ESA's Envisat satellite. This animation shows the dispersal between 22 and 25 May.   Credits: ESA

The Grímsvötn ash plume can be followed using aerosol information from the Sciamachy instrument on ESA's Envisat satellite. This animation shows the dispersal between 22 and 25 May. Credits: ESA

The the Norwegian Institute for Air Research NILU used data from satellites to produce the predicted path of the ash plumes and to understand the dispersal patterns of ash clouds between May 21st and May 27th.

The animation, produced on 23 May, shows the forecast positions of volcanic ash (total column in units of g/m2) from 20:00 GMT on 21 May to 06:00 on 27 May from the Grímsvötn volcanic eruption. The emission source varies in time and assumes a uniform height profile up to the reported plume heights measured by radar. It is also constrained by total fine ash mass determined by satellite.   Credits: NILU

The animation, produced on 23 May, shows the forecast positions of volcanic ash (total column in units of g/m2) from 20:00 GMT on 21 May to 06:00 on 27 May from the Grímsvötn volcanic eruption. The emission source varies in time and assumes a uniform height profile up to the reported plume heights measured by radar. It is also constrained by total fine ash mass determined by satellite. Credits: NILU

All of these ash cloud forecast images can be download in higher resolution from ESA’s web site.


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