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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Volcanic eruptions can be catastrophic events, particularly when they occur in inhabited coastal environments. They also play important roles in climate and biogeochemical cycles, including through nutrient deposition in the ocean. Volcanic ash studies in the ocean have focused on the phytoplankton response, generally quantifying changes in chlorophyll-a concentration. Many gaps remain in addressing fundamental questions regarding why volcanic ash deposition may enhance or limit both phytoplankton growth and/or drive community composition shifts. Here we outline a wide, multidisciplinary vision for monitoring volcanic eruptions near ocean ecosystems from satellites, including considerations for characteristics of airborne volcanic ash and ash geochemistry in seawater. Ultimately, observations beyond chlorophyll-a are needed to quantify phytoplankton communities (including harmful algal blooms) and possible impacts across higher trophic levels. We synthesize relevant research from volcanic studies as well as atmospheric and ocean sciences to identify the ‘known unknowns’ in ash-ecosystem studies. Our goal is to move toward an improved understanding of how real-time and near-real-time monitoring of volcanic eruptions can help address societally relevant questions.

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© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. Publisher’s version of record:

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Remote Sensing of Environment

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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