On 27 July, the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite measured aerosol and sulphur dioxide emissions of the Ambae island volcano.
Ambae is an island in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. It is the emergent portion of Vanuatu's largest (most voluminous) volcano, Manaro Voui, which rises 1496 metres above sea level, or some 3900 metres above the sea floor.
Launched on 13 October 2017, Sentinel-5P is the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. It is part of the fleet of Sentinel missions that ESA develops for the European Union's environmental monitoring Copernicus programme managed by the European Commission.
This animation includes aerosol and cloud information based on the Suomi-National Polar-orbiting Partnership/ Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (S-NPP/VIIRS) measurements.
The two brown plumes (measured by VIIRS) indicate volcanic ash. Their locations and extensions corroborate the Aerosol Index as measured by Sentinel-5P (the plume further away from the erupting volcano does not show borders as sharp as those in the plume over the volcano, as it is already thinned out, so includes lower ash concentration).
Furthermore, the additional Sulphur Dioxide information measured by Sentinel-5P can be used as an indicator for the movement of the ash plume.
Volcanic ash is a hazard for aviation and the synergistic usage of S-NPP and Sentinel-5P allows its monitoring with very high confidence.
Sentinel-5P and S-NPP are operated in loose-formation flying (at a distance of approximately 3.5 minutes) to allow this synergistic use of measurements.
Copyright: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by BIRA/IASB and KNMI