Sentinel-5P Tracking Emissions from Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

On May 4th, Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano has erupted, spewing a toxic combination of ash and gases into the atmosphere.  May 17th marked a second eruption of the volcano which has been erupting near continuously since 1983.  Sentinel-5P carries the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) onboard the satellite.  This instrument is able to measure trace gases including nitrogen dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a trace gas emitted by volcanic activity that can be detrimental to the health of humans and cause sulphidation of aircraft engines.  Sentinel-5P is able to measure this gas and volcanic ash at a spatial resolution of 3.5 x 7 km2.  Data collected can be used to assess impacts on the local environment and aviation travel in the area.

Data from Sentinel-5P products will be available for public access by the end of June 2018.

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On 6 May 2018, Sentinel-5P and VIIRS (instrument on the NASA/NOAA satellite Suomi-NPP) detected sulphur dioxide emissions and lava (hot spots) from the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii.
On 6 May 2018, Sentinel-5P and VIIRS (instrument on the NASA/NOAA satellite Suomi-NPP) detected sulphur dioxide emissions and lava (hot spots) from the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii. Map: BIRA/IASB

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.