Integration between Satellite and Ground-Based Data for the Improvement of Volcanic Ash Retrievals and Eruption Characterization

Monday, 15 December 2014: 3:29 PM
Stefano Corradini1, Luca Merucci1, Frank Silvio Marzano2,3, Mario Montopoli2,3, Gianfranco Vulpiani4, Matteo Ricci3, Lorenzo Guerrieri5, Sergio Pugnaghi5, Simona Scollo6, Mauro Coltelli6 and Salvatore Stramondo1, (1)INGV National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, CNT, Rome, Italy, (2)Center of excellence CETEMPS, University of L’Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy, (3)Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy, Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Informazione (DIET), Rome, Italy, (4)Department of Civil Protection, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Rome, Italy, Rome, Italy, (5)Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Modena, Italy, (6)INGV National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Osservatorio Etneo, Catania, Italy
Due to the large emission of gas and ash particles into the atmosphere, volcanic eruptions are among the most important sources of natural pollution. The size, density and shape of volcanic ash particles determine their residence time in the atmosphere that varies from minutes (for particles with radius larger than 100 μm) to weeks (for particles smaller than 10 μm). The interest in determining the abundances of these particles is high because of their effects on the environment, climate, public health and aviation. A practical consequence after the recent 2010 Eyjafjallajökull (Iceland) eruption, was the introduction of a volcanic ash concentration threshold to reduce the level of flight disruption whilst ensuring the passenger safety. This requirement forces the scientific community to develop novel techniques to obtain reliable results in real time. On the other hand, from the research point of view, an accurate estimation of the volcanic ash emissions can also yield insights into magmatic processes which control volcanic activity during the eruptive phases.

Worldwide volcanic activity is observed with a variety of ground and space-based instruments that offer advantages and drawbacks. Because doesn’t exist a single system able to give a comprehensive description of a particular phenomenon, an integrated approach based on the use of different types of remote sensing data is required. This approach is the core of the Multi-platform volcanic Ash Cloud Estimation (MACE) procedure that will be developed within the European FP7-APHORISM project.

In this is work the measurements obtained from the geostationary MSG-SEVIRI, the polar Terra/Aqua MODIS and the ground-based weather RADAR instruments are integrated thus blending infrared and microwave ash estimation techniques from space and ground platforms. The expected outcomes are the improvements of the volcanic ash retrievals (mass, aerosol optical depth, effective radius, concentration, size distribution, cloud altitude and thickness) and a better characterization of the volcanic eruption.

As test case the Mt. Etna (Sicily-Italy) volcano lava fountaining event of the 23 November 2013 has been considered.