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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions have been measured by ultraviolet sensors on polar‐orbiting satellites for several decades but with limited temporal resolution. This precludes studies of key processes believed to occur in young (~1–3 hr old) volcanic clouds. In 2015, the launch of the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) provided an opportunity for novel observations of volcanic eruption clouds from the first Earth‐Sun Lagrange point (L1). The L1 vantage point provides continuous observations of the sunlit Earth, offering up to eight or nine observations of volcanic SO2 clouds in the DSCOVR/EPIC field of view at ~1‐hr intervals. Here we demonstrate DSCOVR/EPIC's sensitivity to volcanic SO2 using several volcanic eruptions from the tropics to midlatitudes. The hourly cadence of DSCOVR/EPIC observations permits more timely measurements of volcanic SO2 emissions, improved trajectory modeling, and novel analyses of the temporal evolution of volcanic clouds.

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©2018. The Authors. Article deposited here in compliance with publisher policies. Publisher's version of record:

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Geophysical Research Letters


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