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Measured radiances from the Version 7 reprocessing of the Nimbus 7/total ozone mapping spectrometer (TOMS) 340- and 380-nm channels are used to detect absorbing particulates injected into the atmosphere after the El Chichon eruption on April 4, 1982. It is shown that while the single-channel reflectivity determined from the 380-nm channel is able to detect clouds and haze composed of nonabsorbing aerosols, the spectral contrast between the 340- and 380-nm channels is sensitive to absorbing particulates such as volcanic ash, desert dust, or smoke from biomass burning. In this paper the spectral contrast between these two channels is used to detect the volcanic ash injection into the atmosphere and to track its evolution for several days. The movement of the ash clouds is shown to be consistent with the motions expected from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)-derived balanced wind fields in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. The movement of the volcanic SO2 cloud detected from TOMS data was also in agreement with the NCEP wind at higher altitudes of up to 100–10 mbar. The vertical wind shear in the neighborhood of the eruption site resulted in a clear separation of the ash and SO2 clouds. The location and movement of the ash cloud are consistent with information obtained by the advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) instrument on board the NOAA 7 satellite and to ground reports of ash fall.

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Copyright 1997 by the American Geophysical Union. Publisher's version of record:

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Journal of Geophysical Research


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