Intercomparison of Metop-A SO2 measure- ments during the 2010- 2011 Icelandic eruptions

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Maria Elissavet Koukouli
Lieven Clarisse
Elisa Carboni
Jeroen van Gent
Claudia Spinetti
Dimitris Balis
Spiros Dimopoulos
Don Grainger
Nicolas Theys
Lucia Tampellini
Claus Zehner


The European Space Agency project Satellite Monitoring of Ash and Sulphur Dioxide for the mitigation of Avi­ ation Hazards, was introduced after the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in the spring of 2010 to facilitate the development of an optimal End­to­End System for Volcanic Ash Plume Monitoring and Predic­ tion. The Eyjafjallajökull plume drifted towards Europe and caused major disruptions of European air traffic for several weeks affecting the everyday life of millions of people. The limitations in volcanic plume monitoring and prediction capabilities gave birth to this observational system which is based on comprehensive satellite­derived ash plume and sulphur dioxide [SO2] level estimates, as well as a widespread validation using supplementary satellite, aircraft and ground­based measurements. Inter­comparison of the volcanic total SO2 column and plume height observed by GOME­2/Metop­A and IASI/Metop­A are shown before, during and after the Eyjaf­ jallajökull 2010 eruptions as well as for the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption. Co­located ground­based Brewer Spectro­ photometer data extracted from the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre for de Bilt, the Nether­ lands, are also compared to the different satellite estimates. Promising agreement is found for the two different types of instrument for the SO2 columns with linear regression coefficients ranging around from 0.64 when comparing the different instruments and 0.85 when comparing the two different IASI algorithms. The agree­ ment for the plume height is lower, possibly due to the major differences between the height retrieval part of the GOME2 and IASI algorithms. The comparisons with the Brewer ground­based station in de Bilt, The Nether­ lands show good qualitative agreement for the peak of the event however stronger eruptive signals are required for a longer quantitative comparison. 

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How to Cite
Koukouli, M. E., Clarisse, L., Carboni, E., van Gent, J., Spinetti, C., Balis, D., Dimopoulos, S., Grainger, D., Theys, N., Tampellini, L. and Zehner, C. (2015) “Intercomparison of Metop-A SO2 measure- ments during the 2010- 2011 Icelandic eruptions”, Annals of Geophysics, 57. doi: 10.4401/ag-6613.

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