Volcanic eruption Iceland on April 15, 2010
The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull has ejected large quantities of ash and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere during its eruptions on March 21 and April 15, 2010, causing massive disruption to air traffic across Northern Europe since April 16. Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are currently evaluating satellite data to investigate the effects of the eruptions on the atmosphere.
May 5, 2010 3:22:39 PM CEST
Apart from the emission of ash and water vapour, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano emitted sulphur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere, a colourless and toxic trace gas. The SO2 plume had been transported south-eastwards over the Atlantic Ocean, with sulfur dioxide amounts of more than 20 DU Dobson Units (DU). The SO2 was measured since April 15, 2010, by the atmospheric sensor GOME-2 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment) on the EUMETSAT satellite, MetOp-A. The Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) provides as part of the O3M-SAF near-real-time and historical maps of GOME-2 total column (ozone, nitrogen dioxide, tropospheric nitrogen dioxide, bromine oxide, sulphur dioxide, H2O, HCHO) and cloud products at the this link.
April 27, 2010 9:00:03 AM CEST - updated on May 6, 2010 9:00:03 AM CEST
Using the 3D-chemistry-transport-model POLYPHEMUS/DLR, the dispersion of the volcanic emissions from the Eyjafjalla volcano was computed. The emission function of the volcano – that means its effective injection height as a function of time – is derived from MetOp-A/IASI measurements. The POLYPHEMUS/DLR system generally accounts for the full chemistry of the relevant atmospheric trace gases. In this calculation, show here, the volcanic SO2 is considered as nearly passive tracer. The animation (GIF-format, 6MB) is available for download via this link.
April 21, 2010 4:05:42 PM CEST
Multiple data takes of the satellite MODIS from April 15 to 20 have been used to generate a mosaic covering the entire European area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Instrument MODIS is a 36 band spectrometer recording with 250m pixel size, producing global coverage within 1-2 days. The technical specifications of the instrument can be found in the mission Web-Portal of NASA http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/ On April, 15 the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull can be clearly identified by its ash plume. The emitted matter was transported in south westerly direction over the central North Sea. The plume was driven by strong winds, originated between a region of high pressure over the Atlantic and a cyclone over Scandinavia. On April, 16 a cloud band can be observed over Germany, separating aerosol-polluted , but water-vapour free air in the north from less polluted air in the south. On April 17, cloud filaments show up over the Atlantic west of France. The detail image reveals that the volcano is still emitting tephra, which however is now drifting southward. On April, 18 the initial ash plume has been disseminated over the southern North Sea, the English channel, and the eastern Atlantic. During the MODIS overflight the volcanic activity was reasonably weaker than before. On April, 19 a small cyclonic eddy next to Island pushes rapid ashes-transport in southwesterly direction (this phenomenon can also be seen in the detail image) On April, 20 the aerosol cloud is rapidly stretched by wind shear strain, dissipating the narrow emission band into a wide fan. The time-series is available for download via this link (JPG-format, 6 MB).
April 20, 2010 12:22:25 PM CEST
From NOAA-19 AVHRR data received on April 20th in the early morning before sunrise (5:54 CEST) hotpots can be seen for the first time. The red arrows point at two green-blueish coloured areas, a larger and a smaller one. Such hotspots can be identified through the use of a mid-infrared channel (wavelength: 3.7 µm), since an increase of the temperature generally results in a high signal response in this spectral region. The obvious intensification and extension of the hotspots indicate that Eyjafjalla potentially started to eject more lava and therefore less amount of ashes. The image is available via this link.
April 20, 2010 9:43:37 AM CEST
On 15th April 2010, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland emitted large quantities of ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide and ash particles differ in their radiative properties. The European meteorological satellite Meteosat-9, whose data are received and processed by DLR, supplies radiances in twelve wavelengths every 15 minutes. By suitable combinations of channels at 10.8 microns and 12 microns (ash, highlighted in yellow) or 8.7 microns to 12 microns (SO2, marked in blue) the path of these materials can be visualized. The grey background represents brightness temperature in the channel 10.8 microns. Ongoing dilution or overlying clouds makes detection more difficult. Therefore, ash-free classified areas are not necessarily a safe airspace. The movie (MPG-format, 8MB) is available for download via this link.
April 20, 2010 9:30:05 AM CEST
This study shows the air masses being emitted from the volcano Eyjafjallajökull residing over Europe during the time of DLR-Falcon's flight. The flight took place between 16:00 and 19:30 local time. The color code represents the actual height of the considered air parcels. The study is available for download via this link.
April 20, 2010 9:00:20 AM CEST - updated on April 21, 2010 10:52:20 AM CEST
DLR operates the cloud physical parameter APOLLO (AVHRR/MSG Processing scheme Over cLouds Land and Ocean) processing scheme for EUMETSAT's METEOSAT-9 meteorological satellite. Low sun elevation conditions in morning and late afternoon hours allow the visualization of atmospheric turbidity with its spatial variability. The time-series is available for download via this link (zip-file, 7.6 MB).
April 19, 2010 6:29:46 PM CEST - updated on April 22, 2010 9:21:00 AM CEST
The combination of satellite observations and atmospheric transport modelling can provide crucial information on the dispersion and transport of ash and trace gases. Besides ash also water vapour, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide are emitted by volcanic eruptions. Since water vapour and carbon dioxide are quite abundant in the atmosphere and high concentrations of SO2 are mainly linked to volcanoes, SO2 is a very good indicator for volcanic activity. SO2 total columns can be retrieved from GOME-2 aboard MetOp. At DLR GOME-2 data are processed routinely and atmospheric SO2 total columns are retrieved in near-real time and with a global coverage in about one day. The images show the distribution of SO2 over Iceland and Northern Europe from April 15 to 19, 2010. The movement of the plume to the east and south east with the prevailing winds can be seen. However, the GOME-2 SO2 observations and the volcanic ash index from MSG only provide a two-dimensional snapshot of the SO2 plumes. In order to derive information on the plume height, the emission source, the time of the emission and the future dispersion of the plume a trajectory ensemble matching technique. The plume height over Germany can be estimated to 4 to 8 km. Different ground-based observations of significantly elevated particulate matter and SO2 values, could already been traced back to the Eyjafjalla volcano. Finally, by means of this methodology the planning of the DLR FALCON flight on April 19, 2010 was supported. The time-series is available in jpg-format via this link.
April 19, 2010 6:23:41 PM CEST
AVHRR data from the NOAA series of satellites is routinely being received at DLR/DFD. This satellite image, acquired on April 17, 2010 by NOAA-19, shows the ash emitted by the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Southern Iceland as a blue-greyish cloud formation. Being diverted first in a southern direction by Northern winds, the cloud drifted southeastwards due to winds caused by a low pressure system east of Iceland. Due to its dispersion above Central Europe, the ash cloud is not as visible as directly above the crater. An image of this satellite acquisition (jpg-format) is available via this link.