La Palma volcano: How satellites help us monitor eruptions

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 06:30:00 GMT
ESA Top News

Since the Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting on 19 September 2021, lava has burned through homes...

Since the Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting on 19 September 2021, lava has burned through homes, roads and farmlands causing mass destruction on the west part of the Canary Island of La Palma.

From capturing images of the rivers of lava, to measuring gas emissions and assessing damage, the fleet of Copernicus Sentinel satellites have been providing crucial data for local teams.

A build-up of ash and dust on the runway forced authorities in La Palma to close the island's airport, according to Spain's airport authority AENA. It has been the second time the airport has been closed due to ash build-up since the eruption began on 19 September.

In stunning new images taken on 10 October, the new river of lava belched from the Cumbre Vieja volcano has been captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Satellites in orbit carry different instruments that provide a wealth of complementary information to better understand volcanic eruptions.

Sentinel-5P can monitor sulphur dioxide, aerosol and ash emitted by volcanic eruptions and follow its movement through the atmosphere.

"ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager, Claus Zehner, comments,"This volcanic eruption demonstrates how Sentinel data can support different operational Copernicus services.

Sentinel-5P sulphur dioxide measurements can be used by the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service to help aviation companies to avoid volcanic ash and sulphur dioxide plume encounters.

"Sentinel-2 lava flow measurements can support the Copernicus Emergency Management Service in case of natural disasters like a volcanic eruption."

Sulphur dioxide concentrations can be monitored using the Copernicus Sentinel-5P Volcanic Sulphur Dioxide online platform.

Summarized by 51%, original article size 1725 characters