Assessing the altitude and dispersion of volcanic plumes using MISR multi-angle...

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Flower, V. J. B., and R. Kahn (2017), Assessing the altitude and dispersion of volcanic plumes using MISR multi-angle imaging from space: Sixteen years of volcanic activity in the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 337, 1-15, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.03.010.

Volcanic eruptions represent a significant source of atmospheric aerosols and can display local, regional and global effects, impacting earth systems and human populations. In order to assess the relative impacts of these events, accurate plume injection altitude measurements are needed. In this work, volcanic plumes generated from seven Kamchatka Peninsula volcanoes (Shiveluch, Kliuchevskoi, Bezymianny, Tolbachik, Kizimen, Karymsky and Zhupanovsky), were identified using over 16 years of Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) measurements. Eighty-eight volcanic plumes were observed by MISR, capturing 3–25% of reported events at individual volcanoes. Retrievals were most successful where eruptive events persisted over a period of weeks to months. Compared with existing ground and airborne observations, and alternative satellite-based reports compiled by the Global Volcanism Program (GVP), MISR plume height retrievals show general consistency; the comparison reports appear to be skewed towards the region of highest concentration observed in MISR-constrained plume vertical extent. The report observations display less discrepancy with MISR toward the end of the analysis period (2013–2016), with improvements in the suborbital data likely the result of the deployment of new instrumentation. Conversely, the general consistency of MISR plume heights with conventionally reported observations supports the use of MISR in the ongoing assessment of volcanic activity globally, especially where ground-based observations are unavailable. Differences between the northern (Shiveluch, Kliuchevskoi, Bezymianny and Tolbachik) and southern (Kizimen, Karymsky and Zhupanovsky) volcanoes broadly corresponding to the Central Kamchatka Depression (CKD) and Eastern Volcanic Front (EVF) geological sub-regions of Kamchatka, respectively, are distinguished by varying magma composition. For example, by comparison with reanalysis-model simulations of local meteorological conditions, CKD plumes were generally less constrained by mid-tropospheric (b 6 km) layers of vertical stability above the boundary layer, suggesting that these eruptions were more energetic than those in the EVF region.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)