Volcanic eruption detection by the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instruments: A 22-year record of sulphur dioxide and ash emissions

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Since their first deployment in November 1978, the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instruments have provided a robust and near-continuous record of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ash emissions from active volcanoes worldwide. Data from the four TOMS satellites that have flown to date have been analysed with the latest SO2/ash algorithms and incorporated into a TOMS volcanic emissions database that presently covers 22 years of SO2 and ash emissions. The 1978-2001 record comprises 102 eruptions from 61 volcanoes, resulting in 784 days of volcanic cloud observations. Regular eruptions of Nyamuragira (DR Congo) since 1978, accompanied by copious SO2 production, have contributed material on approximately 30% of the days on which clouds were observed. The latest SO2 retrieval results from Earth Probe (EP) TOMS document a period (1996-2001) lacking large explosive eruptions, and also dominated by SO2 emission from four eruptions of Nyamuragira. EP TOMS has detected the SO2 and ash produced during 23 eruptions from 15 volcanoes to date, with volcanic clouds observed on 158 days. The EP TOMS instrument began to degrade in 2001, but has now stabilized, although its planned successor (QuikTOMS) recently failed to achieve orbit. New SO2 algorithms are currently being developed for the Ozone Monitoring Instrument, which will continue the TOMS record of UV remote sensing of volcanic emission from 2004 onwards.

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Geological Society Special Publication