Kelut volcano grounds flights

Feb 17, 2014
Sulphur dioxide concentration over the Indonesian island of Java in the early morning of 14 February 2014 following the eruption of the Kelut volcano. This image is based on data from the IASI instrument on the MetOp mission. Credit: ESA/DLR/BIRA-IASB/Eumetsat

The Kelut volcano on Indonesia's Java island erupted late last night. While disaster-management authorities are busy on the ground, satellites are tracking the major cloud of ash and sulphur dioxide as it spreads in the atmosphere.

"The ash has reached high altitudes where commercial aircraft fly and is a significant hazard to aviation," said Fred Prata from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

Airports across Java have closed, and multiple flights have been cancelled throughout the region.

"ESA and its partners are maintaining a constant vigil, and are providing satellite alerts to the relevant authorities through the Support to Aviation Control Service," said Mr Prata.

The Support to Aviation Control Service – or SACS – uses satellite data to provide early warning information about ash, clouds and their dispersion following .

The presence of ash in the atmosphere can endanger jet engines.

When an eruption occurs, SACS sends a notification to users, most notably to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs), and public maps are generated showing the extent and intensity of the .

Ash information over the Indonesian island of Java on 14 February 2014 following the eruption of the Kelut volcano. This image is based on data from the GOME-2 instrument on the MetOp mission. Credit: ESA/ ULB/BIRA-IASB/Eumetsat

"The VACC in Darwin, Australia – which keeps track of volcanic eruptions mainly in southeast Asia – have been using satellite-derived sulphur dioxide and information as a verification tool for many years and are now tracking the plume from last night's eruption," said Andrew Tupper, head of Australia's National Operations Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology.

"The sulphur dioxide imagery from this eruption is very useful indeed."

Data from the GOME-2 and IASI instruments on Europe's MetOp-A and -B satellites have been crucial to the monitoring of the Kelut eruption's .

IASI and GOME-2 – the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer and Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 – provide information about sulphur dioxide and aerosols.

Explore further: Better forecasts for sea ice under climate change

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smelling Grímsvotn: Signal of a volcanic eruption

Sep 05, 2012

(Phys.org)—While piloting a commercial transatlantic flight last year, Captain Klaus Sievers and his crew got a whiff of an unusual odour. In a confined space 10 km up in the air, there was only one thing ...

Satellites monitor Icelandic ash plume

May 24, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- As Iceland's Grímsvötn volcano spews ash high into the atmosphere, satellite observations are providing essential information to advisory centres assessing the possible hazards to ...

Satellites track Mt Merapi volcanic ash clouds

Nov 16, 2010

Since its latest series of deadly eruptions, Java’s Mt Merapi has been spewing volcanic ash clouds into the air. Satellite data are crucial for assessing the eruption’s danger to air traffic and ...

Satellite data improve aviation safety

Apr 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Thousands of planes are grounded across Europe due to the spread of volcanic ash following the recent eruption under Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull glacier. Volcanic eruptions eject large amounts ...

Improving forecasts of volcanic ash concentrations

Feb 14, 2012

Volcanic ash can severely damage airplanes, and eruptions such as the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption may result in major disruption to air travel. Improved forecasting of ash cloud locations and concentrations could benefit ...

Recommended for you

Better forecasts for sea ice under climate change

4 hours ago

University of Adelaide-led research will help pinpoint the impact of waves on sea ice, which is vulnerable to climate change, particularly in the Arctic where it is rapidly retreating.

"Ferrari of space' yields best map of ocean currents

12 hours ago

A satellite dubbed the "Ferrari of space" has yielded the most accurate model of ocean circulation yet, boosting understanding of the seas and a key impact of global warming, scientists said Tuesday.

Researcher studies deformation of tectonic plates

15 hours ago

Sean Bemis put his hands together side by side to demonstrate two plates of the earth's crust with a smooth boundary running between them. But that boundary is not always smooth and those plates do not always ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.