A Novel Approach to Estimating Time-Averaged Volcanic SO2 Fluxes from Infrared Satellite Measurements
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A Novel Approach to Estimating Time-Averaged Volcanic SO2 Fluxes from Infrared Satellite Measurements

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  • Journal Title:
    Remote Sensing
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    Long-term continuous time series of SO2 emissions are considered critical elements of both volcano monitoring and basic research into processes within magmatic systems. One highly successful framework for computing these fluxes involves reconstructing a representative time-averaged SO2 plume from which to estimate the SO2 source flux. Previous methods within this framework have used ancillary wind datasets from reanalysis or numerical weather prediction (NWP) to construct the mean plume and then again as a constrained parameter in the fitting. Additionally, traditional SO2 datasets from ultraviolet (UV) sensors lack altitude information, which must be assumed, to correctly calibrate the SO2 data and to capture the appropriate NWP wind level which can be a significant source of error. We have made novel modifications to this framework which do not rely on prior knowledge of the winds and therefore do not inherit errors associated with NWP winds. To perform the plume rotation, we modify a rudimentary computer vision algorithm designed for object detection in medical imaging to detect plume-like objects in gridded SO2 data. We then fit a solution to the general time-averaged dispersion of SO2 from a point source. We demonstrate these techniques using SO2 data generated by a newly developed probabilistic layer height and column loading algorithm designed for the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), a hyperspectral infrared sensor aboard the Joint Polar Satellite System’s Suomi-NPP and NOAA-20 satellites. This SO2 data source is best suited to flux estimates at high-latitude volcanoes and at low-latitude, but high-altitude volcanoes. Of particular importance, IR SO2 data can fill an important data gap in the UV-based record: estimating SO2 emissions from high-latitude volcanoes through the polar winters when there is insufficient solar backscatter for UV sensors to be used.
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    Remote Sensing, 13(5)
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    CC BY
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