Estimation of volcanic ash refractive index from satellite infrared sounder data 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Hiroshi Ishimoto and Kazuhiko Masuda, Meteorological Research Institute, Ibaraki, Japan
The properties of volcanic ash clouds (cloud height, optical depth, and effective radius of the particles) are planned to estimate from the data of the next Japanese geostationary meteorological satellite, Himawari 8/9. The volcanic ash algorithms, such as those proposed by NOAA/NESDIS and by EUMETSAT, are based on the infrared absorption properties of the ash particles, and the refractive index of a typical volcanic rock (i.e. andesite) has been used in the forward radiative transfer calculations. Because of a variety of the absorption properties for real volcanic ash particles at infrared wavelengths (9-13 micron), a large retrieval error may occur if the refractive index of the observed ash particles was different from that assumed in the retrieval algorithm.

Satellite infrared sounder provides spectral information for the volcanic ash clouds. If we can estimate the refractive index of the ash particles from the infrared sounder data, a dataset of the optical properties for similar rock type of the volcanic ash can be prepared for the ash retrieval algorithms of geostationary/polar-orbiting satellites in advance. Furthermore, the estimated refractive index can be used for a diagnostic and a correction of the ash particle model in the retrieval algorithm within a period of the volcanic activities.

In this work, optimal estimation of the volcanic ash parameters was conducted through the radiative transfer calculations for the window channels of the atmospheric infrared sounder (AIRS). The estimated refractive indices are proposed for the volcanic ash particles of some eruption events.