• Near Real-time Volcanic Cloud Products for Aviation Alerts
Program Disasters Program
PI / Institution Nickolay Krotkov / GSFC
Start Date October 1, 2012
End Date September 30, 2013
  • Summary

    Volcanic eruptions can inject significant amounts of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (ash) into the atmosphere, posing a substantial risk to aviation safety. Ingesting near-real time (NRT) satellite volcanic cloud data is vital for improving reliability of volcanic ash forecasts and mitigating effects of volcanic eruptions on aviation and the economy. NASA volcanic NRT products from the Aura/OMI UV sensor can be currently accessed through a NOAA operational volcanic SO2/ash web site. We propose continuing collaboration with NOAA and other partner organizations to fully utilize and disseminate NASA SO2 and ash volcanic data to further improve their Decision Support System (DSS) for early warning. The products will be enhanced with Aqua/AIRS data and continued using new SO2 and ash data from the next generation operational NPP/JPSS sensors. We propose to demonstrate the value of increased observational frequency of polar orbit swath overlaps together with reduced satellite data latency times to 20 minutes by utilizing direct broadcast data received at ground stations in Finland and Alaska. Given a new emphasis on quantitative ash mass forecasts for air traffic management (ATM) we propose utilizing satellite data assimilation techniques in a NASA global model to demonstrate improved medium range forecasts of volcanic cloud location and vertical extent. Our proposal directly responds to the priority topic of the solicitation: Volcanic effluent detection and monitoring, particularly in regard to impacts on aviation. It describes the initial feasibility study phase to explore several improvements to existing DSSs and ensure all community users are engaged and are planning to use NASA products in their decision support process. Metron Aviations experience in developing ATM DSS for use by the FAA, airlines and other key players will be used to help shape satellite products. This will ensure that they are relevant and more readily transitioned into operational use.