Eruption of the Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano in Japan

May 29th, 2015
Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (click to play animation)

The Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano in Japan experienced a violent eruption beginning around 00:59 UTC on 29 May 2015 — the expanding volcanic cloud was captured by 0.5-km resolution Himawari-8 AHI 0.64 µm visible channel images (above; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file). A mid-layer volcanic cloud was seen moving to the west-northwest, while a high-altitude plume spread out as it moved east-southeastward.

About an hour after the eruption, Terra MODIS products at 0205 UTC from the SSEC Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site are shown below. Retrieved volcanic Ash Probabilities were very high for both cloud segments; for the southeastern cloud segment, the maximum volcanic Ash Height was in the 10-12 km range, volcanic Ash Loading was high, and the largest Ash Effective Radius values were in the 8-10 um range.

Terra MODIS false-color RGB image

Terra MODIS false-color RGB image

Volcanic Ash Probability product

Volcanic Ash Probability product

Volcanic Ash Height product

Volcanic Ash Height product

Volcanic Ash Loading product

Volcanic Ash Loading product

Volcanic Ash Effective Radius product

Volcanic Ash Effective Radius product

Eruption of the Wolf Volcano in the Galapagos Islands

May 25th, 2015

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel (left) and 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel (right) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel (left) and 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel (right) images [click to play animation]

After nearly 33 years of inactivity, a comparison of GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel and 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel images (above; click to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) showed that the Wolf Volcano in the Galapagos Islands began to erupt sometime between 0645 and 0715 UTC on 25 May 2015. A large thermal anomaly or “hot spot” (red-enhanced pixels) was quite apparent, along with what appeared to be a brief post-eruption “shock wave” (warmer, darker gray enhancement) propagating radially outward from the eruption site on the 0715 and 0745 UTC shortwave IR images. Two plumes of volcanic cloud could be seen: a small one at a lower altitude propagating northeastward, and a second larger plume at a higher altitude moving south-southwestward.

With the arrival of daylight at 1215 UTC, a portion of the volcanic cloud could be seen at times (although identification was difficult with widespread meteorological clouds present in the area).

An Aqua MODIS false-color Red/Gren/Blue (RGB) image at 0800 UTC (below; courtesy of Michael Pavolonis, NOAA/NESDIS/CIMSS) displayed a signal of SO2 (green enhancement) along the edges of the larger volcanic cloud as it was moving southward.

Aqua MODIS false-color RGB image

Aqua MODIS false-color RGB image

GOES-13 10.7 µm IR channel images (below; click to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) indicated that the coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperature of -65º C appeared at 1015 UTC with the larger plume moving south-southwestward.

GOES-13 10.7 µm IR channel images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 10.7 µm IR channel images [click to play animation]

According to the nearby San Cristobal rawinsonde report at 12 UTC, the altitude of the -65º C temperature was around 14 km, at the 157 hPa pressure level. The tropopause for this sounding was coded to be at 16.1 km or 109.0 hPa, where the air temperature was -80.7º C.

San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands rawinsonde data profile

San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands rawinsonde data profile

The latest advisories issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center can be found here.

The nighttime glow of Hawaii’s Kilauwea volcano

April 28th, 2015
Himawari-8 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

The Kilauwea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i began erupting in March 2008 (blog post | USGS reference), and has been in a nearly continuous phase of activity since then. During the pre-dawn hours of 28 April 2015, thermal signatures of the Kilauwea summit lava lake and nearby lava flows could be seen on McIDAS-V images of 10-minute interval Himawari-8 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (above; click image to play animation). The dark black pixels represent the hottest IR brightness temperatures.

On the corresponding Himawari-8 2.3 µm near-IR channel images (below; click image to play animation), the clusters of bright white pixels represent the glow of the hot lava features.

Himawari-8 2.3 µm near-IR channel images (click to play animation)

Himawari-8 2.3 µm near-IR channel images (click to play animation)

A different view is provided by the polar-orbiting Suomi NPP satellite — a comparison of AWIPS II images of VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR data (below) revealed the locations of the hottest lava features (black to yellow to red color enhancement) at 11:40 UTC (1:40 am local time).

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and 3.74 µm shortwave IR images

A longer animation using GOES-15 (GOES-West) 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (below; click image to play animation) showed considerable temporal fluctuation in the location and intensity of the hot lava pixels (black to yellow to red color enhancement). For the latest information on the Kilauea eruption, visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

GOES-15 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

GOES-15 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (click to play animation)

Gravity Waves Associated with Calbuco Volcanic Eruption

April 23rd, 2015
I05_04315_0509_Calbuco_VolGW_zoom

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm imagery, 0509 UTC 23 April 2015 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP overflew the erupting Calbuco Volcano in southern Chile around 0509 UTC or 2:09 am local time on 23 April 2015. The image above is the VIIRS 11.45 µm infrared imagery (click here for a similar view).

The shock of the volcanic eruption generated mesospheric gravity waves (or “mesospheric airglow waves”) that were evident in the Day/Night Band, shown in the toggle below between the 11.45 µm and the night-time visible imagery. No lunar illumination was present, so the waves were apparent via the Earth’s airglow as the primary light source; this “night glow” is emitted from a variety of high-altitude (80-105 km) gases located near the mesopause (reference).

IO5_DNB_04315_0509_Calbuco_VolGW

Toggle between VIIRS 11.45 µm infrared image and 0.70 µm Day/Night Band image, 0509 UTC 23 April 2015 (Click to enlarge)

(VIIRS images courtesy of William Straka, SSEC)