Popocatépetl Volcanic Eruption

Popocatépetl Volcano erupted overnight, spewing volcanic ash emissions, from 0200-1600UTC, 15 February 2019. Geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites observed this atmospheric phenomenon from 00-16 UTC, 15 February 2019.

GOES-16 3.9um 

A hot spot (i.e. white, warm brightness temperature) is produced from the volcanic eruption, along with its ash plume (i.e. elongated, cooler, black, brightness temperatures). Notice how the ash plume advects to the southwest, due to moderate, surface-to-mid-level northeasterly winds.


GOES16 – Split Window Difference (SWD)

In the animation, SWD observes low-level atmospheric water vapor (i.e. moisture) and is derived from the 10.3um-12.3um channel difference. Once the volcano erupts, notice the elongated volcanic ash plume (i.e. seen in purple), that comprises of ash and cloud liquid droplets. In the animation, note how the plume is conspicuous compared to the 3.9um observations.


GOES-16 – Volcanic Ash Microphysics (EUMETSAT)

The EUMETSAT RGB shows the volcanic ash plume in red, where different shades of red, indicate varying levels of volcanic ash concentrations. Also, volcanic eruptions can produce varying levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is bad for human health. In this animation, there was no SO2 detected; no yellow (i.e. indicates mixed ash and SO2), or shades of green colors (i.e. purely SO2) were observed near the volcanic eruption.


SNPP – Near-Constant Contrast (NCC) (Nighttime visible imagery)

SNPP, a polar-orbiter, also captured the volcanic ash plume, utilizing NCC nighttime visible imagery. NCC, a derived product of the Day/Night Band (DNB), utilizes a sun/moon reflectance model that illuminates atmospheric features, and senses emitted and reflected light sources during the nighttime. In the static SNPP NCC image below, notice the emitted light sources produced from cities and towns (i.e. Mexico City and Acapulco) and the reflected light sources (i.e. clouds and in this case, the volcanic ash plume).

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