Friday, 13 November 2009
Volcanic emissions, especially those from major eruptions, may have immense effects on the Earth's radiation budget. These events temporarily impact the Earth's climate, lowering temperatures, and having potentially disastrous and costly effects on agricultural and aviation professions. Timely processing of data is essential to the understanding of volcanic events as they occur. Satellite observations allow for global coverage of these events, including indications of transport. CALIPSO, MODIS, and OMI, as part of the A-TRAIN satellite constellation, provide near-simultaneous measurements in a sun-synchronous polar orbit of aerosol optical depth, sulfur dioxide content, vertical distribution of aerosols, and visual context for each event. Other satellites outside the A-TRAIN provide additional information at different times. The FORMOSAT-3 satellite mission utilizes six asynchronous orbiting satellites for GPS occultation from the COSMIC GPS satellite constellation to provide vertical profiles of temperature and water vapor at high spatial and vertical resolution. The presented research utilizes the reports of the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program to parse satellite datasets using an automated system. This system is capable of reading in the Program's report, downloading relevant datasets as they become available, and processing the data without user intervention. The project's desired outcome is a system providing not only alerts of volcanic activity, but also an analysis of important events and catalog of volcanic emissions to better understand their role in climate and the atmospheric system. Potential contributions include injection heights, global statistics of volcanism, differences in content by eruption type, and typical lifetimes by injection height.
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