Volcanic eruption detection by the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instruments: a 22-year record of sulphur dioxide and ash emissions
Published:January 01, 2003
S. A. Carn, A. J. Krueger, G. J. S. Bluth, S. J. Schaefer, N. A. Krotkov, I. M. Watson, S. Datta, 2003. "Volcanic eruption detection by the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instruments: a 22-year record of sulphur dioxide and ash emissions", Volcanic Degassing, C. Oppenheimer, D. M. Pyle, J. Barclay
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Since their first deployment in November 1978, the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instruments have provided a robust and near-continuous record of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ash emissions from active volcanoes worldwide. Data from the four TOMS satellites that have flown to date have been analysed with the latest SO2 /ash algorithms and incorporated into a TOMS volcanic emissions database that presently covers 22 years of SO2 and ash emissions. The 1978–2001 record comprises 102 eruptions from 61 volcanoes, resulting in 784 days of volcanic cloud observations. Regular eruptions of Nyamuragira (DR Congo) since 1978, accompanied by copious SO2 production, have contributed material on approximately 30% of the days on which clouds were observed. The latest SO2 retrieval results from Earth Probe (EP) TOMS document a period (1996–2001) lacking large explosive eruptions, and also dominated by SO2 emission from four eruptions of Nyamuragira. EP TOMS has detected the SO2 and ash produced during 23 eruptions from 15 volcanoes to date, with volcanic clouds observed on 158 days. The EP TOMS instrument began to degrade in 2001, but has now stabilized, although its planned successor (QuikTOMS) recently failed to achieve orbit. New SO2 algorithms are currently being developed for the Ozone Monitoring Instrument, which will continue the TOMS record of UV remote sensing of volcanic emissions from 2004 onwards.
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Humans have long marvelled at (and feared) the odorous and colourful manifestations of volcanic emissions, and, in some cases, have harnessed them for their economic value. The degassing process responsible for these phenomena is now understood to be one of the key factors influencing the timing and nature of volcanic eruptions. Moreover the surface emissions of these volatiles can have profound effects on the atmospheric and terrestrial environment, and climate. Even more fundamental are the relationships between the history of planetary outgassing, differentiation of the Earth’s interior, chemistry of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and the origin and evolution of life. This book provides a compilation of 23 papers that investigate the behaviour of volatiles in magma, the feedbacks between degassing and magma dynamics, and the composition, flux, and environmental, atmospheric and climatic impacts of volcanic gas emissions.