Metop-A and MSG observe Etna eruptions (10-13 May 2008)

by Nicholas Fiorenza and HansPeter Roesli (EUMETSAT)

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On 10 May 2008, an eruption of the Etna volcano on the Italian island of Sicily was measured by the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME-2) on EUMETSAT’s Metop-A polar-orbiting satellite. The data were evaluated by scientists at the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), the German Aerospace Center, in Oberpfaffenhofen, a member of EUMETSAT's Ozone Monitoring and Atmospheric Chemistry Satellite Application Facility. Etna began erupting on 10 May, belching sulphur dioxide up to 12 kilometres into the atmosphere. GOME-2 measured the sulphur dioxide cloud as it moved over Greece on 11 May, Iran on 13 May and Turkmenistan on 14 May (see 3-day composite SO2 product, 11-14 May, PNG, 942 KB, source: DLR, Applied Remote Sensing Cluster). The movement of the SO2 cloud over the Mediterranean Sea towards the Middle East and up to Iran can also be followed in Meteosat-9 Ash RGB products (see greenish cloud patch in the Ash RGB Animation, 10 May 13:00 UTC - 12 May 06:00 UTC, MPG, 8809 KB).

A second eruption of Etna took place on 13 May from an 800-metre crack which opened north-east of Etna’s south-eastern crater, emitting large amounts of sulphur dioxide which were measured by GOME-2 and MSG SEVIRI over southern Italy (see images below). While GOME-2 detected the SO2 cloud in the morning of 14 May, Meteosat-9 "saw" the eruption immediately, i.e. within 15 minutes, at around 09:30 UTC on 13 May. The eruptions were some of the heaviest since 2002 and volcanic ash forced the closure of nearby Catania airport.

Metop-A GOME-2 SO2 Level 2 Product
Metop-A, 14 May 2008
GOME-2 Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Retrieval
Full Resolution (PNG, 948 KB)
(source: DLR, Applied Remote Sensing Cluster)
See also:

Meteosat-9 Ash RGB Product
Met-9, 13 May 2008, 12:00 UTC
RGB Composite IR12.0-IR10.8, IR10.8-IR8.7, IR10.8
with ECMWF winds at 200 hPa (vectors and isotachs)
Full Resolution (PNG, 222 KB)
Animation (09:15-20:45 UTC, MPG, 4590 KB)

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