Articles | Volume 7, issue 8
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 2437–2456, 2014
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 2437–2456, 2014

Research article 08 Aug 2014

Research article | 08 Aug 2014

Ash plume top height estimation using AATSR

T. H. Virtanen1, P. Kolmonen1, E. Rodríguez1, L. Sogacheva1, A.-M. Sundström2, and G. de Leeuw1,2 T. H. Virtanen et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Erik Palmenin aukio 1, 00560 Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Gustav Hällströmin katu 2a, 00560 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. An algorithm is presented for the estimation of volcanic ash plume top height using the stereo view of the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) aboard Envisat. The algorithm is based on matching top of the atmosphere (TOA) reflectances and brightness temperatures of the nadir and 55° forward views, and using the resulting parallax to obtain the height estimate. Various retrieval parameters are discussed in detail, several quality parameters are introduced, and post-processing methods for screening out unreliable data have been developed. The method is compared to other satellite observations and in situ data. The proposed algorithm is designed to be fully automatic and can be implemented in operational retrieval algorithms. Combined with automated ash detection using the brightness temperature difference between the 11 and 12 μm channels, the algorithm allows efficient simultaneous retrieval of the horizontal and vertical dispersion of volcanic ash. A case study on the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 is presented.