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Open AccessArticle

Stereoscopic Estimation of Volcanic Ash Cloud-Top Height from Two Geostationary Satellites

Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), CNT, Via di Vigna Murata 605, 00143 Rome, Italy
Institute of Geophysics, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, University of Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany
ZRC SAZU, Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Novi trg 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
COMET, Atmospheric Oceanic and Planetary Physics, University of Oxford, Clarendon Laboratory, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zhong Lu, Peter Webley, Andrew McGonigle and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(3), 206;
Received: 16 September 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volcano Remote Sensing)
PDF [4512 KB, uploaded 3 March 2016]


The characterization of volcanic ash clouds released into the atmosphere during explosive eruptions includes cloud height as a fundamental physical parameter. A novel application is proposed of a method based on parallax data acquired from two geostationary instruments for estimating ash cloud-top height (ACTH). An improved version of the method with a detailed discussion of height retrieval accuracy was applied to estimate ACTH from two datasets acquired by two satellites in favorable positions to fully exploit the parallax effect. A combination of MSG SEVIRI (HRV band; 1000 m nadir spatial resolution, 5 min temporal resolution) and Meteosat-7 MVIRI (VIS band, 2500 m nadir spatial resolution, 30 min temporal resolution) was implemented. Since MVIRI does not acquire data at exactly the same time as SEVIRI, a correction procedure enables compensation for wind advection in the atmosphere. The method was applied to the Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy, eruption of 23 November 2013. The height of the volcanic cloud was tracked with a top height of ~8.5 km. The ash cloud estimate was applied to the visible channels to show the potential accuracy that will soon be achievable also in the infrared range using the next generation of multispectral imagers. The new constellation of geostationary meteorological satellites will enable full exploitation of this technique for continuous global ACTH monitoring. View Full-Text
Keywords: volcanic ash; cloud top height; parallax; satellite; stereo view volcanic ash; cloud top height; parallax; satellite; stereo view

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Merucci, L.; Zakšek, K.; Carboni, E.; Corradini, S. Stereoscopic Estimation of Volcanic Ash Cloud-Top Height from Two Geostationary Satellites. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 206.

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