From mid-February to present time, so far 8 episodes of paroxysms (sudden, uncontrollable outburst) from Etna volcano occurred in only 2 weeks, disturbing air traffic from Catania airport and affecting the trajectories and departures of many flights in Europe (several volcanic advisory messages have been sent by Toulouse VAAC). In this animation, you can see one of the bursts emitted by Etna at midnight on 21 February 2021. We use EUMETSAT ash RGB composite images from MSG4 to illustrate this event. In the same time the volcanic plume is mixing with dust and sand particles whipped up from the Sahara. The dust cloud passed over Paris and Brussels on 22 February.
ALARM team is investigating the combined use of RGB composites from SEVIRI with selective detection of dust and SO2 clouds from hyperspectral sensors (IASI-A, IASI-B, IASI-C and AIRS, in the IR range, and TROPOMI, GOME-2B, GOME-2C and OMPS, in the UV). SO2 notifications have been sent by SACS/ALARM Early Warning System providing information of the SO2 mass loading and height retrieved by TROPOMI sensor.
At the timing of writing this report, the activity at Etna is still on-going. The last paroxysm emitted an SO2 cloud is currently over Iraq and Pakistan, affecting the air traffic in the Middle-East.
The previous burst from Etna generated an SO2 cloud that is currently over South Korea and will reach Japan on 3 March 2021.