Ongoing eruption of Cumbre Vieja (La Palma) in the Canary Islands

October 9th, 2021 |

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed the south-southeastward drift of an ash-laden volcanic cloud from Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands on 09 October 2021. Since this most recent ongoing eruptive period began on 19 September, intermittent periods of volcanic clouds with an elevated ash content have been observed — and on this day, the darker tan to light brown appearance was an indication that higher ash concentrations were likely.     

In the corresponding GOES-16 Ash RGB  images (below), increasing shades of pink — which suggest a higher ash content — became apparent within a semi-circular volcanic cloud element after 1100 UTC.  

GOES-16 Ash RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

A NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color image as viewed using RealEarth (below) also showed the darker tan to light brown shades of the ash-laden volcanic cloud.

NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 retrieved products from the NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring site (below) indicated that the more distinct pulse of ash-laden volcanic cloud had a maximum height in the 5-6 km range, and was composed of ash particles having an effective radius 10 µm and smaller. 

GOES-16 Ash Probability [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Ash Loading [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Ash Height [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Ash Effective Radius [click to play animation | MP4]

Kilauea is active again

October 1st, 2021 |
GOES-17 Shortwave Infrared, 0126 – 1156 UTC on 1 October 2021 (Click to enlarge)

GOES-17 Shortwave Infrared imagery, above, shows the hot-spot associated with the latest eruptive phase of the Halema’uma’u Crater on Kilauea’s southern slope. (Click here for webcams).

The Day Night band from VIIRS on board Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 show the light source from the eruption as well, as shown in the toggle below (imagery from the Honolulu Direct Broadcast site, here)

VIIRS Day Night Band imagery from Suomi NPP (1111 UTC) and NOAA-20 (1200 UTC), 1 October 2021 (Click to enlarge)

The NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring Web Portal (i.e., VOLCAT — link) include a Kilauea sector under the Washington DC VAAC tab; an imagery example is here.


FDCA — the Fire Detection and Characterization Algorithm — should have a signal here but does not. The landcover dataset used for the product is missing Hawaii. Fires aren’t looked for when land does not exist, even if its absence is in error. NOAA/NESDIS Scientists and their partners at CIMSS are working to correct this oversight.

Eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands

September 19th, 2021 |

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed the southward expansion of a volcanic cloud following an eruption of Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands at 1410 UTC (advisories) on 19 September 2021. The eruption caused some evacuations on the island of La Palma. The ash loading was relatively light, as no distinct ash signature (shades of pink to magenta) was seen the corresponding GOES-16 Ash RGB  images (animated GIF | MP4) — however, pale shades of green in those RGB images did suggest the presence of SO2 within the volcanic cloud (below). Lower-altitude winds transported some of the volcanic cloud material southwestward, while higher-altitude winds carried SO2-rich parts of the volcanic cloud toward the southeast (Tenerife, Canary Islands sounding).

GOES-16 True Color RGB and Ash RGB images at 1700 UTC [click to enlarge]

A distinct thermal anomaly (cluster of hot pixels, yellow to red enhancement) was seen at the eruption site on GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) — this thermal signature briefly subsided about 2 hours after the eruption, but then resumed for several additional hours. The bulk of any significant volcanic ash remained aloft, with no restrictions to surface visibility reported at La Palma or Tenerife.

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

CSPP GeoSphere views of the Soufriere Eruption on 11 April 2021

April 11th, 2021 |

GOES-16 True Color Imagery, 1210-1600 UTC on 11 April 2021 (click to animate)

CSPP GeoSphere allows a user to view True Color imagery (and individual GOES-16 bands) in real time using data from the four GOES-16 domains:  Full Disk, CONUS, and Mesoscale Sectors 1 and 2.  The animation above shows the 1330 UTC eruption (11 April 2021) of Soufriere, one of a series of eruptions from that volcano (as discussed here and elsewhere).  The ash emitted by the short (duration) eruption then moves westward towards Barbados, following upper-level winds.  (Low-level winds are easterly).  The rapid ascent of the ash cloud is documented below, showing 4 images from the Full Disk imagery at 1320, 1330, 1340 and 1350 UTC.

GOES-16 True Color Imagery, at 1320, 1330, 1340 and 1350 UTC on 11 April 2021 (click to animate)

Rapid changes suggest Mesoscale imagery would be useful.  Indeed, volcanic events area ranked #2 on the GOES-R MDS Priority List, after only a SPC High/Moderate Risk for Severe weather.  Thus, mesoscale Sector 2 imagery was available over the area.   That is shown below and it better captures the time of the eruption and better resolves the ascent through the troposphere.

GOES-16 Mesoscale sector 2 True Color Imagery, 1320-1347 UTC (Click to animate)

Seven consecutive zoomed-in 1-minute images are shown below, from 1329 through 1336 UTC on 11 April (with the map removed; CSPPGeo link used here; a similar animation from the CIRA Slider is here.) They show the initial stages of this particular eruption.  A Pileus cap is obvious at the top of the eruption at 1329 UTC. (Animation available here as an mp4).

GOES-16 Mesoscale sector 2 True Color Imagery, 1329-1336 UTC (Click to enlarge)

Quantitative information on some aspects of this series of events can be found at the VOLCAT website.  You can also find information at the Washington DC VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).