92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 9:45 AM
Satellite Retrievals of Eyjafjallajökull, Grimsvötn, and Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Volcanic Ash Cloud Properties: Evaluation of near Real-Time Results and Suggestions for Improving Operational Satellite Products
Room 357 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Michael J. Pavolonis, NOAA/NESDIS, Madison, WI; and J. Sieglaff

During the 2010 and 2011 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull, Grimsvötn, and Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) utilized infrared measurements from EUMETSAT's Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) to produce near real-time estimates of ash cloud height, mass loading, and effective particle radius at hourly intervals. The retrieved ash cloud properties for these high impact eruptions were made available to the operational and research communities via the web. The algorithm used to estimate the ash cloud properties was developed in preparation for the next generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R). In this paper, the performance of the GOES-R volcanic ash cloud properties will be quantitatively evaluated using lidar measurements from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite, along with aircraft measurements (for the Eyjafjallajökull eruption).

While posting information on ash cloud properties to a web site is useful, the GOES-R ash products are most useful to Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) if they can be accessed in near real-time using operational visualization software (e.g. AWIPS, NAWIPS, McIDAS, etc…). As such, NOAA/NESDIS has been working on transitioning the volcanic ash cloud property products (using the GOES-R approach) directly to operations at the Anchorage and Washington VAACs. An update on this effort will also be presented. In addition, the eruption of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle in Chile produced long-lasting upper troposperic/lower stratospheric ash clouds that circumnavigated the mid and high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, spreading across three different VAAC zones of responsibility, with each VAAC zone having different geostationary satellite capabilities. The large areal extent and long transport of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle ash clouds combined with the inhomogeneous nature of satellite capabilities (from an instrument and viewing angle perspective) meant that satellite tracking of the ash clouds was often logistically and scientifically challenging. Satellite-based tracking of ash clouds, especially those that are transported long distances (at detectable concentrations), would greatly benefit from composite satellite products. Suggestions for combining data from multiple satellites to generate high spatial resolution globally and/or regionally gridded quantitative volcanic ash products will be presented, along with some preliminary results.

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