Eruption of the Indonesian volcano Kelut: EOC measures trace gases in near-real-time

17 February 2014

After increased seismic activity in the past few weeks, the volcano Kelut erupted at about 10:50 pm local time on 13 February 2013. EOC was able to record the emitted trace gases and their distribution in near-real-time.

Ash plumes rose to altitudes of 10-15 km and massive downpours of ash and lapilli took place as far as 15-20 km from the volcano. Over 200,000 people were evacuated. Volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are not only dangerous for the population in the affected regions and the cause of respiratory problems. They are also a threat to aviation. Volcanic ash is highly abrasive to engine turbine vanes and propellers. The sulfur dioxide increases the oxidation of aircraft components. Ash can even cause total engine failure if it melts and then congeals in the engine. Several airports were accordingly closed and air traffic from and to Australia was severely restricted.

The GOME-2 instruments aboard the polar-orbiting satellites MetOp-A (launched in 2006) and MetOp-B (launched in 2012) detected a huge SO2plume drifting towards the southwest. In some cases the measured total SO2 columns reached 50 Dobson units (DU).

GOME-2 is an ultraviolet spectrometer (290-790 nm) which takes global measurements of atmospheric composition on a daily basis. GOME-2 provides nadir-view scans with a ground pixel resolution of 40 x 40 km2 (MetOp-A) and 80 x 40 km2 (MetOp-B).

Under the leadership of IMF, DLR-EOC provides operational trace gas measurements, including total SO2 columns, in near-real-time (i.e., within 2 hours of recording) in the framework of EUMETSAT’s Satellite Application Facility on Ozone and Atmospheric Chemistry Monitoring (O3M-SAF). Users of the SO2 product include the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs), which issue aviation warnings.

More information about the GOME-2 trace gas products as well as up-to-date measurements can be found with the link on the right.


 Volcano Kelut 14.02.2014
zum Bild Volcano Kelut 14.02.2014
 Volcano Kelut 15.02.2014
zum Bild Volcano Kelut 15.02.2014
 Volcano Kelut 16.02.2014
zum Bild Volcano Kelut 16.02.2014
 Volcano Kelut 17.02.2014
zum Bild Volcano Kelut 17.02.2014

Movement of the SO2 plume during the four days after the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Kelut as measured by the GOME-2/MetOp A and B instruments. The measurement were made at about 8:00 am local time.

Dr. Pascal Hedelt
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Remote Sensing Technology Institute
, Atmospheric Processors
Tel: +49 8153 28-3164

Fax: +49 8153 28-1446

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