Volcanic Plumes: Insights into Volcanic Emissions and their Impacts on the Environment and Health


Volcanic Plumes: Insights into Volcanic Emissions and their Impacts on the Environment and Health
Co-organized by AS3/CL4/NH2
Convener: Pasquale Sellitto | Co-conveners: Amy Donovan, Emily MasonECSECS, Tjarda Roberts, Giuseppe G. Salerno
vPICO presentations
| Wed, 28 Apr, 15:30–17:00 (CEST)

vPICO presentations: Wed, 28 Apr

Chairpersons: Pasquale Sellitto, Giuseppe G. Salerno, Tjarda Roberts
Tools: Observations
Charlotte Segonne, Nathalie Huret, Sébastien Payan, and Mathieu Gouhier

Monitoring active volcanoes activity passes through the detection of fluctuations in degassing levels which may reflect changes in the magma supply rate and help inform a short-term forecast of on-going eruptions. Infrared hyperspectral imagers, which is an imaging technology still little used for volcanoes monitoring, have been deployed for various field campaigns on active volcanoes recently. For example, the Hyper-Cam LWIR (LongWave InfraRed) ranging between 850-1300 cm-1 (7.7 - 11.8 µm) with a spectral resolution up to 0.25 cm-1, provided high spectral resolution images from ground-based measurements of the Mount Etna (Sicily, Italy) plume during IMAGETNA campaign in June 2015. Processing the raw data and retrieving the infrared spectra with the LATMOS (Laboratoire Atmosphères Milieux Observations Spatiales) Atmospheric Retrieval Algorithm (LARA), a robust and a complete radiative transfer model, require a calculation time of ~7 days per image.

One of the main ways of risk mitigation effects of explosive eruptions is to get a fast and accurate quantification of SO2 fluxes emitted by volcanoes. In this context, using the dataset acquired during IMAGETNA campaign at Mount Etna, a spectra classification methodology has been developed to drastically decrease the calculation time and reach near real-time retrievals of SO2 slant column densities. The methodology is based on a network built on two layers of information from the extraction of spectral features in the O3 and SO2 emission bands. A training dataset of five SO2 slant column densities images retrieved with the time-consuming pixel-by-pixel retrieval method allowed the creation of a library. The spectra classification makes it possible to process each hyperspectral image in less than 40 seconds. It opens the possibility to infer near real-time estimation of SO2 emission fluxes from IR hyperspectral imager measurements.

How to cite: Segonne, C., Huret, N., Payan, S., and Gouhier, M.: A spectra classification methodology of infrared hyperspectral images to reach near real-time SO2 emission flux estimation of Mount Etna plume, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15239,, 2021.

Jean-François Smekens, Tamsin Mather, and Mike Burton

Monitoring of volcanic emissions (gas, ash and aerosols) is crucial to our understanding of eruption mechanisms, as well as to developing mitigation strategies during volcanic eruptions. Ultraviolet (UV) spectrometers and cameras are now ubiquitous monitoring tools at most volcano observatories for quantifying sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions. However, because they rely on scattered UV light as a source of radiation, their use is limited to daytime only, and measurement windows are often further restricted by unfavourable weather conditions. On the other end of the spectrum, Open Path Fourier Transform Infrared (OP-FTIR) instruments can be used to measure the concentrations of a series of volcanic gases, and they allow for night-time operation. However, the retrieval methods rely on the presence of a strong source of IR radiation in the background - either natural (lava flow, crater rim, the sun) or artificial – restricting their use to very specific observation geometries and a narrow range of eruptive conditions. Here we present a new approach to derive quantities of SO2, ash and aerosols from measurements of a drifting volcanic plume. Using the atmosphere as a background, we measured self-emitted IR radiation from plumes at Stromboli volcano (Italy) capturing both passive degassing and ash-rich explosive plumes. We use an iterative approach with a forward radiative transfer model (the Reference Forward Model – RFM) to quantify concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2), aerosols and ash in the line of sight of the spectrometer. This new method could significantly enhance the scientific return from OP-FTIR instruments at volcano observatories, ultimately expanding their deployment as part of permanent scanning networks (an alternative to DOAS instruments) to provide continuous data on the emissions of gas, ash and aerosols. 

How to cite: Smekens, J.-F., Mather, T., and Burton, M.: Quantifying gas, ash and aerosols in volcanic plumes using emission OP-FTIR measurements, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9794,, 2021.

Pascal Hedelt, MariLiza Koukouli, Konstantinos Michaelidis, Taylor Isabelle, Dimitris Balis, Don Grainger, Dmitry Efremenko, and Diego Loyola

Precise knowledge of the location and height of the volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) plume is essential for accurate determination of SO2 emitted by volcanic eruptions, however so far not available in operational near-real time UV satellite retrievals. The FP_ILM algorithm (Full-Physics Inverse Learning Machine) enables for the first time to extract the SO2 layer height information in a matter of seconds for current UV satellites and is thus applicable in NRT environments.

The FP_ILM combines a principal component analysis (PCA) and a neural network approach (NN) to extract the information about the volcanic SO2 layer height from high-resolution UV satellite backscatter measurements. So far, UV based SO2 layer height retrieval algorithms were very time-consuming and therefore not suitable for near-real-time applications like aviation control, although the SO2 LH is essential for accurate determination of SO2 emitted by volcanic eruptions.

In this presentation, we will present the latest FP_ILM algorithm improvements and show results of recent volcanic eruptions.

The SO2 layer height product for Sentinel-5p/TROPOMI is developed in the framework of the SO2 Layer Height (S5P+I: SO2 LH) project, which is part of ESA Sentinel-5p+ Innovation project (S5P+I). The S5P+I project aims to develop novel scientific and operational products to exploit the potential of the S5P/TROPOMI capabilities. The S5P+I: SO2 LH project is dedicated to the generation of an SO2 LH product and its extensive verification with collocated ground- and space-born measurements.

How to cite: Hedelt, P., Koukouli, M., Michaelidis, K., Isabelle, T., Balis, D., Grainger, D., Efremenko, D., and Loyola, D.: Extremely fast retrieval of volcanic SO2 layer heights from UV satellite data using inverse learning machines, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3107,, 2021.

Matthieu Epiard and Simon Carn

Along with monitoring of seismic activity and ground deformation, the measurement of volcanic gas emissions and composition plays a key role in the surveillance of active volcanoes and the mitigation of volcanic hazards. Volcanic gas emissions also potentially impact the environment, human health and climate, providing further motivation for study. Currently, volcano observatories typically employ ground-based or airborne techniques to monitor volcanic gas emissions, mainly sulfur dioxide (SO2) fluxes and its ratios over other species (e.g., CO2, H2S). However, in recent years there have been significant breakthroughs in satellite observations of passive volcanic SO2 emissions, including high-resolution ultraviolet (UV) measurements from the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on the Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5P) satellite, and the development of long-term records of volcanic SO2 degassing from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite. Satellite measurements offer some advantages over traditional gas monitoring techniques, e.g., synoptic coverage of large regions, relative immunity to variations in wind direction, and ability to map the spatial extent and dispersion of volcanic SO2 plumes with applications for health hazard mitigation. Although these satellite datasets are potentially valuable for active volcano monitoring and as a supplement to other gas monitoring techniques, significant barriers remain to their use at many volcano observatories, particularly in low-income countries. Notably, the increasing volume of satellite datasets (NASA’s database is bigger than 3 petabytes) and the demands of data processing represent challenges to their operational use at observatories with limited internet connectivity or computational capacity. Here, we present an ongoing effort to develop open-source Python software to access and process SO2 data directly through NASA’s Earthdata portal Application Processing Interface (API), in order to streamline the satellite SO2 data processing workflow for a volcano observatory. By allowing server-side satellite data subsetting around the volcano of interest, this API greatly reduces the processing burden and only requires an internet connection to the NASA server hosting the required datasets (including S5P/TROPOMI, Aura/OMI and many others). We present some examples of software output and potential applications. Our current goal is to deploy and test the software for operational use in a volcano observatory.  

How to cite: Epiard, M. and Carn, S.: Towards operational use of satellite SO2 measurements in a volcano observatory, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16345,, 2021.

Isabelle A. Taylor, Roy G. Grainger, and Tamsin A. Mather

Raikoke, a remote volcano in the Kuril Islands, erupted on the 21st June 2019. The eruption injected significant quantities of SO2 into the atmosphere along with volcanic ash. These plumes have been studied with tools developed for the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) by the Earth Observation Data Group (EODG) at the University of Oxford. IASI is a hyperspectral sensor onboard of three meteorological satellites (Metop A, B and C). Each instrument obtains near global coverage twice a day and has a spectral range which includes sensitivity to both SO2 and ash: making them useful for studying the Raikoke plumes. A fast linear SO2 retrieval was first applied to flag pixels with elevated amounts of SO2. With this tool it was possible to follow the Raikoke plume as it circulated the northern hemisphere above 30 degrees, with parts of the plume still visible around 2 months after the eruption took place. Next an iterative SO2 retrieval was used to quantify the amount and height of the SO2 in each pixel. In the first few days after the eruption took place, very high column amounts are recorded, in some cases exceeding 600 DU. Using this retrieval, a preliminary estimate of 1.6 Tg was obtained for the total amount of SO2 emitted (measured on the 23rd of June). Height information from this technique shows that there were probably multiple injection heights during the eruption and that SO2 was emitted into both the troposphere and stratosphere. The tropospheric plume remains visible for just a few days after the eruption, while the stratospheric portion of the plume persists for several weeks.

How to cite: Taylor, I. A., Grainger, R. G., and Mather, T. A.: Observations of plumes from the 2019 Raikoke eruption with the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11828,, 2021.

Tools: Modelling
Silvia Massaro, Fabio Dioguardi, Laura Sandri, Giancarlo Tamburello, Jacopo Selva, Sèverine Moune, David Jessop, Roberto Moretti, Jean-Christophe Komorowski, and Antonio Costa

In recent decades, reliable computational models have significantly advanced, and now represent a valuable tool to make quantitative and testable predictions, supporting gas dispersal forecasting and hazard assessments for public safety. In this study, we carried out a number of tests aimed to validate the modelling of gas dispersal at La Soufrière de Guadeloupe volcano (Lesser Antilles), which has shown quasi-permanent degassing of low-temperature hydrothermal nature since its last magmatic eruption in 1530 AD. In particular, we focused on the distribution of CO2 and H2S discharged from the three main present-day fumarolic sources at the summit, using the MultiGAS measurements of continuous gas concentrations collected during March-April 2017. We implemented the open-source Eulerian code DISGAS-2.0 for passive gas dispersion coupled with the mass consistent Diagnostic Wind Model (DWM), using wind measurements and atmospheric stability information from a local meteorological station and the ECMWF-ERA5 reanalysis data. We found that model outputs are highly dependent on the resolution of the topographic data, which affect mainly the reliability of DWM meteorological fields, especially on and around the steep dome. Our results satisfactory reproduce the observed data, indicating the potential usefulness of DISGAS-2.0 as a tool for quantifying gas hazard and reproducing the fumarolic degassing and at La Soufrière de Guadeloupe.


How to cite: Massaro, S., Dioguardi, F., Sandri, L., Tamburello, G., Selva, J., Moune, S., Jessop, D., Moretti, R., Komorowski, J.-C., and Costa, A.: Modelling gas dispersal phenomena at La Soufrière volcano (Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4889,, 2021.

Nick Gorkavyi, Nickolay Krotkov, Can Li, Leslie Lait, Simon Carn, Peter Colarco, Nikita Fedkin, Matthew DeLand, Mark Schoeberl, Alexander Vasilkov, and Joanna Joiner

We have developed a new trajectory tool to reconstruct the altitude and the position of SO2 in a volcanic plume. Starting with 2D map of satellite observed SO2, known volcano location, and reanalysis wind fields from the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model, the Goddard trajectory tool allows us to estimate the altitude and concentration of SO2 in the volcanic plume at time of observation. We used this tool for the June 21, 2019 Mt. Raikoke eruption and the June 15, 1991 Mt. Pinatubo event. We used SO2 data from the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite/Nadir Mapper (OMPS/NM) onboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi satellite and obtained a distribution of SO2 altitudes between 1 and 19 kilometers in different parts of the Raikoke SO2 clouds, with the highest SO2 concentration between 11 and 16 km, in good agreement with data from independent SO2 layer height retrievals from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aboard the NASA Aura spacecraft; the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) onboard the European Copernicus Sentinel 5 precursor satellite and Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) on the European Space Agency's (ESA) MetOp series of a polar orbiting satellites. We then applied this method to the Pinatubo eruption using SO2 column measurements from the NASA Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) and using wind fields from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis version 2. We found that the southern part of the Pinatubo plume is located in the troposphere, and the northern part is in the stratosphere.

How to cite: Gorkavyi, N., Krotkov, N., Li, C., Lait, L., Carn, S., Colarco, P., Fedkin, N., DeLand, M., Schoeberl, M., Vasilkov, A., and Joiner, J.: Calculating the Height and the Position of Volcanic Cloud SO2 With a Lagrangian Trajectory Tool, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7916,, 2021.

Fabio Dioguardi, Silvia Massaro, Giovanni Chiodini, Antonio Costa, Arnau Folch, Giovanni Macedonio, Laura Sandri, and Jacopo Selva

The emission of volcanic gases can occur both during volcanic eruptions and in quiescent stages of the volcanic activity. This process can affect the air quality in the areas downwind; in fact, many gas species can be a threat to human health and even life at concentrations and doses above species-specific thresholds. Gas emissions can be of different types, the two main categories being dilute passive degassing and heavy gas flow. The former occurs when the gas concentration is low and/or temperature is high, hence its density is lower than the atmospheric density; the latter takes place when the gas density is higher than the atmosphere and the gas accumulates onto the ground and may flow as a gravity current more or less affected by the wind. Examples of the first and second types of emissions are fumaroles and limnic explosions, respectively.

Numerical modelling is one of the approaches used to quantify the hazard related to these processes. Ideally, for hazard quantification purposes numerous simulations originating from varying the most important input parameters (e.g. wind field, emission rates, etc.) in their range of uncertainty should be carried out. The whole process of gas dispersion modelling is time consuming, since it starts with the assessment of the wind field with an ad-hoc meteorological model, proceeds with the actual gas dispersion simulation and concludes with the post-processing stage. In order to simplify the whole workflow with the final aim to manage numerous simultaneous simulations for hazard assessment applications, we created APVGDM (Automatic Probabilistic Volcanic Gas Dispersion Modelling), a simulation tool made of a collection of Python scripts. APVGDM is interfaced with two dispersion models that can be selected by the user depending on the application of interest: a dilute (DISGAS) and a dense gas (TWODEE) dispersion model. The post-processing script is capable of building Empirical Cumulative Distribution Functions (ECDF) of the gas concentrations combining the outputs of multiple simulations; the ECDF can be interrogated by the user to produce outputs at the desired exceedance probability. Here we present APVGDM and some application examples showing the wide range of options that the tool offers.

How to cite: Dioguardi, F., Massaro, S., Chiodini, G., Costa, A., Folch, A., Macedonio, G., Sandri, L., and Selva, J.: A new simulation tool for automatic dilute and dense gas dispersion modelling, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9606,, 2021.

Somayeh Arghavani, Clémence Rose, Sandra Banson, Céline Planche, and Karine Sellegri

Volcanic eruption is one of the main natural sources of atmospheric particles. In particular, evidence of New Particle Formation (NPF) from volcanic emission is reported in previous studies (Boulon et al., 2011; Sahyoun et al., 2019), which also suggests an essential role of sulfuric acid in this process. In addition, Rose et al. (2019) highlighted a significant contribution of the particles formed in the volcanic plume of the piton de la Fournaise to the budget of potential CCN at the Maïdo observatory, located ~40 km from the vent of the volcano. Therefore, it is predicted that the number and size of the cloud droplets, cloud growing and precipitation processes might be affected by the frequency of occurrence and characteristics of volcanically induced NPF in both local and regional scales, because volcanic plumes can extend far from the vent and even lower heights under the influence of the wind field and atmospheric dispersion. 

Following the study of Planche et al. (2020), the effect of using the New Parameterization of Nucleation (NPN) derived from the measurements performed in the passive volcanic emission plume of Etna (37.748˚ N, 14.99˚ E; Italy) (Sahyoun et al., 2019) in the WRF-Chem model (Weather Research and Forecasting Model coupled with Chemistry) is assessed, with a specific focus on the cluster formation rate and particle number concentration including CCN. In particular, results obtained with the NPN are compared to the predictions obtained with the default model settings, and further with observations.

In the next step, the resulting aerosol fields will be used to further evaluate the influence of the newly formed and grown particles on cloud formation and properties in a 3D cloud-scale model using a detailed microphysics scheme (DESCAM; Flossmann and Wobrock, 2010; Planche et al. 2010; 2014) . 

How to cite: Arghavani, S., Rose, C., Banson, S., Planche, C., and Sellegri, K.: The Effect of using a New Parameterization of Nucleation in the WRF-Chem model on the Cluster Formation Rate and Particle Number Concentration in a Passive Volcanic Plume, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12058,, 2021.

David Jessop, Roberto Moretti, Séverine Moune, and Vincent Robert

Fumarolic gas composition and temperature record deep processes that generate and transfer heat and mass towards the surface.  These processes are a result of the emplacement, degassing and cooling of magma and the overturning of the above hydrothermal system.  A reasonable expectation, and too often an unproved assumption, is that fumarole temperatures and the deep heat sources vary on similar timescales.  Yet signals from deep and shallow processes have vastly different temporal variations.  This indicates that signals arising from deep activity may be masked or modified by intervening hydrothermal processes, such as fluid-groundrock reactions in which secondary minerals play a major role.  Clearly, this complicates the interpretation of the signals such as the joint variation of fumarole vent temperature and geochemical ratios in terms of what is occurring at depth.  So what do the differences between the timescales governing deep and shallow processes tell us about the intervening transport mechanisms?

At the volcanic dome of La Soufrière de Guadeloupe, the Observatoire Volcanologique et Sismologique de la Guadeloupe has performed weekly-to-monthly in-situ vent gas sampling over many years.  These analyses reliably track several geochemical species ratios over time, which provide important information about the evolution of deep processes.  Vent temperature is measured as part of the in-situ sampling, giving a long time series of these measurements.  Here, we look to exploit the temporal variations in these data to establish the common processes, and also to determine why these signals differ.  By fitting sinusoids to the gas-ratio time series we find that several of the deep signals are strongly sinusoidal.  For example, the He/CH4 and CO2/CH4 ratios, which involve conservative components and mark the injection of deep and hot magmatic fluids, oscillate on a timescale close to 3 years. We also analyse the frequency content of the temperature measurements since 2011 and find that such long signals are not seen.  This may be due to internal buffering by the hydrothermal system, but other external forcings are also present.  From these data we build up a more informed model of the heat-and-mass supply chain from depth to the surface.  This will potentially allow us to predict future unrest (e.g. thermal crises, seismic swarms), and distinguish between sources of unrest.

How to cite: Jessop, D., Moretti, R., Moune, S., and Robert, V.: Trade-offs between deep (magmatic) and shallow (hydrological) forcings on volcanic unrest at La Soufrière de Guadeloupe (Lesser Antilles), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8761,, 2021.

Suzanne Crumeyrolle, Marion Ranaivombola, Tjarda Roberts, Chiara Giorio, Giusseppe Salerno, Salvatore Giammanco, Alessandro Laspina, Alcide Disarra, Letizia Spampinato, and Pasquale sellitto

During the EPL (Etna Plume Lab) campaigns occurring in 2017 (EPL-RADIO) and 2019 (EPL-REFLECT),  gas  and aerosol measurements were performed  at Mount Etna (Sicily, Italy) to better assess the role of volcanic aerosols on both regional climate system and local health hazard. Gas related to volcanic emissions (such as SO2, H2S and others) were measured with low cost sensors (Alphasense) and HCl/SO2 ratio was validated in comparison to FTIR measurements. Aerosol physical and chemical properties were measured using low-cost Optical Particle Counters (OPCN2 from Alphasense) and filter measurements dedicated to organic acids, inorganic ions, soluble metals and total metals. During the EPL-REFLECT campaign, in-situ measurements were performed during: 1) the hike up, 2) a 2-hours period in the close vicinity of the Bocca Nuova crater, 3) the hike down and 4) in Milo (city on the flank of the Etna). Moreover, few OPCs were left unattended at the Bocca Nuova crater for two full days. 


Gas abundances at the crater-rim ranged from a few to 10’s ppmv SO2, with correlation to PM. The analysis of the 2 days measurements highlights a clear diurnal variation of aerosol size distributions. Indeed, at sunrise the total number and mass concentration is rapidly increasing from 15mg/m3 to 125mg/m3 in less than 2 hours. The variation of PM1/PM10 ratio shows a constant trend throughout the day except during a short period of time associated with high wind speeds. These results suggest that most aerosols are emitted through degassing and conversion of precursor gases to particles.

Moreover, analysis of aerosol samples collected on filters showed a change in metal solubility from the samples collected at the crater and the samples collected after atmospheric transport in Milo. This may indicate that the volcanic plume underwent processing in the aqueous phase during transport.

How to cite: Crumeyrolle, S., Ranaivombola, M., Roberts, T., Giorio, C., Salerno, G., Giammanco, S., Laspina, A., Disarra, A., Spampinato, L., and sellitto, P.: Near crater observations of gas and aerosols variability at Mount Etna during the EPL-RADIO and EPL-REFLECT measurement campaigns., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5684,, 2021.

Alessia Sannino, Antonella Boselli, Giuseppe Leto, Simona Scollo, Ricardo Zanmar Sanchez, Salvatore Amoruso, Letizia Spampinato, and Pasquale Sellitto

Mount Etna (Italy) is the most high-impact volcanoes on Mediterranean scale mainly due to its eruptive activity and continuous passive degassing, and the inherent large amount of effluents released into the atmosphere. Mount Etna’s emission mainly originate from the summit craters at an altitude of about 3300 m, feeding frequently volcanic gases and aerosols into the free troposphere. Consequently, their effects on the atmosphere and regional climate system span over relatively long spatiotemporal scales.

In order to better understand the role that Mount Etna’s emissions play on the atmospheric composition and radiative balance in the Mediterranean area, multidisciplinary and multi-scale studies have been carried out since a few years within the different phases of the EtnaPlumeLab (EPL) research cluster. A part of the EPL effort is based on dedicated field campaigns, that aim at the characterization of volcanic sources emissions and nears-source plume dispersion and evolution.

In this work, we investigate the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of the volcanic aerosols from Mount Etna observed during the most recent EPL field campaign, named EPL-REFLECT (near-source estimations of Radiative EFfects of voLcanic aErosols for Climate and air quality sTudies) carried out within the Transnational Access component of the EUROVOLC project. This field campaign completes the previous EPL-RADIO (Radioactive Aerosols and other source parameters for better atmospheric Dispersion and Impact estimatiOns) campaign. Here we discuss the observations of a multiparametric LiDAR system AMPLE. The LiDAR is equipped with a fast scanning, double depolarization (at 532 and 355 nm) and high repetition laser source (1kHz), which is an essential point to derive time series of 3D-resolved aerosol properties near Etna. During the 8-12th of July 2019 period, day/night LiDAR measurements were performed by AMPLE from the astronomical observatory of the INAF-Catania in the location of Serra la Nave at 1725 m a.s.l., pointing towards the summit of Mount Etna. In particular, on the July 11th, the scan was performed with time-steps of 15 minutes at different angles from the top of the volcano to the zenith. These acquisitions highlight the atmospheric evolution of two layers related to two distinct degassing episodes. A comparative analysis with wind speed information and the integration with complementary photometric ground measurements have further constrained this 3D characterization and the evolution of these layers, including those outside the LiDAR field of view.

How to cite: Sannino, A., Boselli, A., Leto, G., Scollo, S., Sanchez, R. Z., Amoruso, S., Spampinato, L., and Sellitto, P.: Three-dimensional distribution of Mount Etna’s emissions during the EPL-REFLECT campaign in July 2019, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10664,, 2021.

Tom Etchells, Lucy Berthoud, Kieran Wood, Andrew Calway, and Matt Watson

Large volcanic eruptions can pose significant hazards over a range of domains. One such hazard is volcanic ash becoming suspended in the atmosphere. This can lead to significant risks to aviation, with the potential to cause severe or critical damage to jet engines. As such, the effective measurement and forecasting of ash contaminated airspace is of vital importance. Forecasts are generally produced using volcanic ash atmospheric transportation and dispersion models (ATDMs). Among the inputs to these models are eruption source parameters such as cloud-top height and cloud volume. One method of providing estimates of these source parameters, and to aid in characterising the size, shape, and distribution of a volcanic plume, is the reconstruction of the outer hull of the plume using multi-angle imagery.

When considering platforms for generating this imagery, satellites provide a range of advantages. These include the potential for global coverage, the wide range of viewing angles during an orbital pass, and being safely removed from any potential volcanic hazards. This method of plume reconstruction has been previously demonstrated by the authors using simulated satellite imagery of a model volcanic plume. However, the simple model plume used during this previous work was static and did not evolve with time, an assumption that is not realistic.

This presentation builds on the previous work and assess the efficacy of satellite imagery-based plume reconstruction under conditions closer to real-world, namely with a plume that is evolving with time. The time evolving plume model is produced via a Blender particle simulation. The images required for reconstruction are then generated at multiple user-determined time intervals and locations. A Space Carving reconstruction method is then applied to the imagery to generate the reconstructed plume. Performance and reconstruction accuracies are investigated by comparison of the reconstructed plume with the ‘ground-truth’ simulation model. The impacts of a range of variables on the reconstruction performance are investigated, including plume size, imager properties, satellite orbit, and the use of additional satellites. The accuracy of the Blender plume simulation is compared with more mature plume simulations such as the University of Bristol PlumeRise model. These comparison models were not themselves used for the reconstruction process due to issues with the generation of accurate imagery.

The improved simulation environment presented in this work further demonstrates the efficacy of a satellite-based reconstruction process for the measurement and forecasting of volcanic ash, potentially leading to improvements in hazard monitoring and aviation safety.

How to cite: Etchells, T., Berthoud, L., Wood, K., Calway, A., and Watson, M.: Reconstruction of Dynamically Evolving Volcanic Ash Clouds from Simulated Satellite Imagery, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15527,, 2021.

Tamsin Mather, Anja Schmidt, and Lawrence Percival

Episodes of large igneous province (LIP) volcanism punctuate Earth history. LIPs are anomalous geologically rapid large‐volume accumulations of igneous rock on the Earth’s surface and in the shallow crust. Periods of LIP emplacement are often temporally associated with times of profound environmental and climatic change throughout Earth history, particularly during the last 300 million years. The fluxes of gas and particles emitted during LIP volcanism are key candidates for triggering these Earth system responses. Understanding these events, their feedbacks and impacts on the Earth system requires collaboration between the fields of volcanology, atmospheric science, ocean chemistry, sedimentology and palaeobiology amongst other fields. This presentation will explore how evidence of the environmental impacts of LIP volcanism and the processes leading to these effects is best combined often from disparate sources including: (1) temporal associations between the dates or proxies of LIPs and evidence of environmental change captured in the geological record; (2) historical records or monitoring studies of the effects of large‐scale recent volcanic activity such as the Laki eruption in 1783–1784 CE and its deposits; and (3) scaling up from observations and measurements of the environmental impacts of present‐day volcanism such as the 2014–2015 Holuhraun eruption and the 2018 Lower East Rift Zone eruption at Kīlauea, Hawai‘i. Recent progress in each of these areas sets the scene for future advances in our understanding of these profoundly important events in Earth’s history.

How to cite: Mather, T., Schmidt, A., and Percival, L.: Insights into the environmental impacts of large igneous province volcanism from volcanology, atmospheric modelling and sedimentary archives, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3418,, 2021.

Claire Lamotte, Jonathan Guth, Virginie Marécal, Giuseppe Salerno, Nicolas Theys, Hughes Brenot, Stefano Corradini, and Mickaël Bacles

Volcanic eruptions are events that can eject several tons of material into the atmosphere. Among these emissions, sulfur dioxide is the main sulfurous volcanic gas. It can form sulfate aerosols that are harmful to health or, being highly soluble, it can condense in water particles and form acid rain. Thus, volcanic eruptions can have an environmental impact on a regional scale.

The Mediterranean region is very interesting from this point of view because it is a densely populated region with a strong anthropogenic activity, therefore polluted, in which Mount Etna is also located. Mount Etna is the largest passive SO2 emitter in Europe, but it can also sporadically produce strong eruptive events. It is then likely that the additional input of sulfur compounds into the atmosphere by volcanic emissions may have effects on the regional atmospheric sulfur composition.

We are particularly investigating the eruption of Mount Etna on December 24, 2018 [Corradini et al, 2020]. This eruption took place along a 2 km long breach on the side of the volcano, thus at a lower altitude than its main crater. About 100 kt of SO2 and 35 kt of ash were released in total, between December 24 and 30. With the exception of the 24th, the quantities of ash were always lower than the SO2.

The availability of the TROPOMI SO2column estimates, at fine spatial resolution (7 km x 3.5 km at nadir) and associated averaging kernels, during this eruptive period made it also an excellent case study. It allows us to follow the evolution of SO2 in the volcanic plume over several days.

Using the CNRM MOCAGE chemistry-transport model (CTM), we aim to quantify the impact of this volcanic eruption on atmospheric composition, sulfur deposition and air quality at the regional scale. The comparison of the model with the TROPOMI observation data allows us to assess the ability of the model to properly represent the plume. In spite of a particular meteorological situation, leading to a complex plume transport, MOCAGE shows a good agreement with TROPOMI observations. Thus, from the MOCAGE simulation, we can evaluate the impact of the eruption on the regional concentrations of SO2 and sulfate aerosols, but also analyse the quantities of dry and wet deposition, and compare it to surface measurement stations.

How to cite: Lamotte, C., Guth, J., Marécal, V., Salerno, G., Theys, N., Brenot, H., Corradini, S., and Bacles, M.: Impact of the Christmas 2018 Mount Etna Eruption on the Regional Air Quality, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2167,, 2021.

Pasquale Sellitto, Giuseppe Salerno, Simona Scollo, Alcide Giorgio di Sarra, Antonella Boselli, Giuseppe Leto, Ricardo Zanmar Sanchez, Alessia Sannino, Tommaso Caltabiano, Salvatore Giammanco, Francesco Monteleone, Giandomenico Pace, Chiara Giorio, Suzanne Crumeyrolle, and Bernard Legras

The EPL-RADIO (Etna Plume Lab - Radioactive Aerosols and other source parameters for better atmospheric Dispersion and Impact estimatiOns) and EPL-REFLECT (near-source estimations of Radiative EFfects of voLcanic aErosols for Climate and air quality sTudies) projects, funded by the EC Horizon2020 ENVRIplus and EUROVOLC Transnational Access to European Observatories programmes, aim to advance the understanding of Mount Etna as a persistent source of atmospheric aerosols and its impact on the  radiative budget at proximal to regional spatial scales. Research was tackled by carrying out three campaigns in the summers of 2016, 2017 and 2019 to observe the volcanic plume produced by passive degassing, proximally and distally from the summit craters, using a wide array of remote sensing and in situ instruments. Diverse data are collected to explore the link of inner degassing mechanisms to the characterisation of near-source aerosol physicochemical properties and subsequent impacts on the atmosphere, environment and regional climate system.

The results of the three campaigns have shown that the volcanic plume emitted by Mount Etna often mixes with aerosols of different origins generating a complex layered pattern. Frequent mineral dust transport events were observed by both LiDAR observations located at Serra La Nave (~7 km south-west from summit craters) and at a medium-term radiometric station, equipped with a Multi-Filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR), and other instruments located at Milo (~10 km eastwards from the craters). LiDAR observations also allowed to study the coexistence of volcanic aerosols and biomass burning particles from local to more distal smoke plumes transports (like for the well-documented large fires from continental southern Italy in July 2017). In situ filter and optical particles counter measurements confirmed the presence of dust at Milo. The interaction/mixing among volcanic, wildfire, and dust aerosols occurs in an overall dynamical regime which appears to be dominated by sea breeze, which is strengthened by the presence of the dark volcanic lava flanks. Photolysis process also possibly play a role in determining the daily evolution of the aerosol plume.

The sources of these different aerosol types are studied in detail using Lagrangian trajectories and meteorological data. Off-line radiative transfer calculations, using EPL-RADIO/REFLECT observations as input data, are used to estimate the relative radiative impact of the different aerosol types with respect to the background passive-degassing aerosols coming from Mount Etna.

How to cite: Sellitto, P., Salerno, G., Scollo, S., di Sarra, A. G., Boselli, A., Leto, G., Zanmar Sanchez, R., Sannino, A., Caltabiano, T., Giammanco, S., Monteleone, F., Pace, G., Giorio, C., Crumeyrolle, S., and Legras, B.: The observation of different aerosols types in the Mount Etna environment and their relative and mutual impacts on local radiative balance, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12380,, 2021.