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VolcanoWatch Weekly [18 June 2009]

Posted by feww on June 20, 2009

Sarychev Peak Erupts

NASA Earth Observatory ISS020-E-09048
A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts this striking view of Sarychev Volcano (Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009.

Astronaut photograph ISS020-E-9048 was acquired on June 12, 2009, with a Nikon D2XS digital camera fitted with a 400 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 20 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, NASA-JSC. Instrument: ISS – Digital Camera

sarychev_omi_2009167 - SO2


In mid-June 2009, Sarychev Peak Volcano on Matua Island in the northwest Pacific began a series of eruptions of large amounts of ash. According to atmospheric scientist Simon Carn, who is part of the science team for the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite, it was also almost certainly the largest sulfur dioxide event so far this year. This image shows average column sulfur dioxide concentrations between June 10 and 17, 2009, based on data from OMI. High concentrations of sulfur dioxide stretched westward from the volcano as far as Sakhalin Island and mainland Russia and eastward as far as Alaska.

Powerful volcanic eruptions can inject sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere. At these altitudes, the sulfates can linger for months or years, cooling the climate by reflecting incoming sunlight. Data from other satellites (such as CALIPSO) suggest that the volcanic plume reached altitudes of 10–15 kilometers, and perhaps as high as 21 km. NASA image courtesy Simon Carn, Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey. Instrument: Aura – OMI [Edited by FEWW.]

[If you thought that looks like a lot, imagine what 38,058,000,000,000.00 kg of CO2 looks like. more than 38,058 MMT of Co2 are released to the environment as a result of human activity: World Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Consumption Including Flaring, Cement Production, and Tropical Deforestation.

FEWW estimates that human activity emitted about 222 times more CO2 in 2008 than the total sum of  all carbon dioxide spewed from volcanic eruptions that year. ]

FEWW Comments:

FEWW cannot rule out the possibility that Sarychev Peak activity may continue unabated, with a pattern of eruptions not dissimilar to the Chaitén scenario.

Previous Comments by FEWW

FEWW Volcanic Activity Forecast

Volcanic Activity Report:  10 June – 16 June 2009

Source: Global Volcanism program (GVP) – SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

New activity/unrest:

Ongoing Activity:

Latest U.S. Volcano Alerts and Updates for Saturday, Jun 20, 2009 at 06:06:23 PDT

  • Redoubt Activity – Color Code ORANGE : Alert Level WATCH

  • Kilauea Activity  –  Color Code ORANGE : Alert Level WATCH

  • Veniaminof Activity – Color Code GREEN : Alert Level NORMAL

  • Mauna Loa Activity – Color Code YELLOW : Alert Level ADVISORY

Redoubt Volcano Latest Observations [2009-06-20 02:34:17]

The eruption of Redoubt continues. Seismic activity remains low but above background levels.  Webcam images of the summit are currently obscured by clouds and darkness. AVO continues to monitor Redoubt’s activity 24/7.

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