Geometric estimation of volcanic eruption column height from GOES-R near-limb imagery – Part 1: Methodology

Horváth, Ákos; Carr, James L.; Girina, Olga A.; Wu, Dong L.; Bril, Alexey A.; Mazurov, Alexey A.; Melnikov, Dmitry V.; Hoshyaripour, Gholam Ali; Buehler, Stefan A.

A geometric technique is introduced to estimate the height of volcanic eruption columns using the generally discarded near-limb portion of geostationary imagery. Such oblique observations facilitate a height-by-angle estimation method by offering close-to-orthogonal side views of eruption columns protruding from the Earth ellipsoid. Coverage is restricted to daytime point estimates in the immediate vicinity of the vent, which nevertheless can provide complementary constraints on source conditions for the modeling of near-field plume evolution. The technique is best suited to strong eruption columns with minimal tilting in the radial direction. For weak eruptions with severely bent plumes or eruptions with expanded umbrella clouds the radial tilt/expansion has to be corrected for either visually or using ancillary wind profiles. Validation on a large set of mountain peaks indicates a typical height uncertainty of inline-formula±500 m for near-vertical eruption columns, which compares favorably with the accuracy of the common temperature method.

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Horváth, Ákos / Carr, James L. / Girina, Olga A. / et al: Geometric estimation of volcanic eruption column height from GOES-R near-limb imagery – Part 1: Methodology. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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