Improved satellite-based volcanic ash detection and height estimates

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Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Improved satellite-based volcanic ash detection and height estimates
Exhibit Hall A2 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Michael J. Pavolonis, NOAA/NESDIS, Madison, WI; and W. F. Feltz and A. Heidinger

Poster PDF (695.2 kB)

Volcanic aerosols pose a serious danger to aircraft. Thus, it is imperative to accurately detect the horizontal and vertical location of volcanic aerosols, especially silicate ash, in a timely manner. Current operational volcanic ash detection methods are typically qualitative and require manual analysis and estimates of ash height are often limited to surface observations and to inaccurate window-channel based satellite methods. As part of NASA's Advanced Satellite Aviation-weather Products (ASAP) project, research at UW-CIMSS has focused on improving current satellite-based volcanic ash detection techniques and height retrievals. Automated techniques for detecting volcanic aerosols, which can be applied to a variety of sensors, are presented in this paper. These techniques can be used as a compliment to the commonly used reverse absorption technique and manual analysis. Further, an automated split window based algorithm for retrieving the height of volcanic plumes from satellite measurements is also shown. In summary, this work will lead to an improved ability to determine, more accurately, the location of volcanic ash plumes and to forecast their dispersion.