Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Simon Anthony Carn


Turrialba is one of the largest and most active stratovolcanoes in the Central Cordillera of Costa Rica and an excellent target for validation of satellite data using ground based measurements due to its high elevation, relative ease of access, and persistent elevated SO2 degassing. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aboard the Aura satellite makes daily global observations of atmospheric trace gases and it is used in this investigation to obtain volcanic SO2 retrievals in the Turrialba volcanic plume. We present and evaluate the relative accuracy of two OMI SO2 data analysis procedures, the automatic Band Residual Index (BRI) technique and the manual Normalized Cloud-mass (NCM) method. We find a linear correlation and good quantitative agreement between SO2 burdens derived from the BRI and NCM techniques, with an improved correlation when wet season data are excluded. We also present the first comparisons between volcanic SO2 emission rates obtained from ground-based mini-DOAS measurements at Turrialba and three new OMI SO2 data analysis techniques: the MODIS smoke estimation, OMI SO2 lifetime, and OMI SO2 transect techniques. A robust validation of OMI SO2 retrievals was made, with both qualitative and quantitative agreements under specific atmospheric conditions, proving the utility of satellite measurements for estimating accurate SO2 emission rates and monitoring passively degassing volcanoes.

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Geology Commons