Constraining the sulfur dioxide degassing flux from Turrialba volcano, Costa...

Xi, X., M. S. Johnson, S. Jeong, M. Fladeland, D. Pieri, J. A. Diaz, and G. Bland (2016), Constraining the sulfur dioxide degassing flux from Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica using unmanned aerial system measurements, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 325, 110-118, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.06.023.

Observed sulfur dioxide (SO2) mixing ratios onboard unmanned aerial systems (UAS) during March 11–13, 2013 are used to constrain the three-day averaged SO2 degassing flux from Turrialba volcano within a Bayesian inverse modeling framework. A mesoscale model coupled with Lagrangian stochastic particle backward trajectories is used to quantify the source-receptor relationships at very high spatial resolutions (i.e., b 1 km). The model shows better performance in reproducing the near-surface meteorological properties and observed SO2 variations when using a first-order closure non-local planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme. The optimized SO2 degassing fluxes vary from 0.59 ± 0.37 to 0.83 ± 0.33 kt d−1 depending on the PBL scheme used. These fluxes are in good agreement with ground-based gas flux measurements, and correspond to corrective scale factors of 8–12 to the posteruptive SO2 degassing rate in the AeroCom emission inventory. The maximum a posteriori solution for the SO2 flux is highly sensitive to the specification of prior and observational errors, and relatively insensitive to the SO2 loss term and temporal averaging of observations. Our results indicate relatively low degassing activity but sustained sulfur emissions from Turrialba volcano to the troposphere during March 2013. This study demonstrates the utility of low-cost small UAS platforms for volcanic gas composition and flux analysis.

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