On the Retrieval of Volcanic Sulfur Dioxide Emissions from GOME Backscatter Measurements
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We focus on the retrieval of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from an analysis of atmospheric UV backscatter spectra obtained by the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) spectrometer on board the ESA European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2). Here, the last major eruptions of Mt. Etna on Sicily (Italy) in July/August 2001 and October/November 2002 provided an excellent opportunity to study the retrieval of SO2 columnar amounts from ground-based, LIDAR and satellite measurements. Our study shows that the bulk of emitted SO2 was confined in the troposphere, mainly between 700 hPa and 400 hPa which is confirmed by trajectory analysis, by LIDAR observations and AVHRR observations. The area of influence of Mt. Etna eruptions ranges from the Western Saharan Desert to Greece and the near east states and even down to the basin of Tschad, Africa. Our analysis revealed that information about the plume height of volcanic eruptions and aerosol parameters is necessary for a reliable quantitative retrieval of SO2 from space-borne sensor data at periods perturbed by volcanic eruptions.
Key wordsGOME measurements sulfur dioxide retrieval trace gases volcanic emissions
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