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  • Nabro Eruption

    Analysis of the evolution of aerosol transport due to Nabro Eruption using CALIPSO and HYSPLIT model

    For many decades, people have known the immense effect of volcanic aerosol on the Earth’s atmosphere. Volcanic aerosol can pose a health hazard for any life on earth, as well as get into upper layers of the atmosphere and affect the climate. The objective of this study is to examine the evolution of the aerosol from Nabro Eruption in 2011 in Eritrea, Africa (13.37N,41.70E) using CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations) and HYSPLIT (Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory) model via NOAA Air Resources Laboratory.

    The above photo of Nabro Eruption was captured by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on-board the NASA Earth Observing satellite-1 (EO-1) by Robert Simmons on June 24, 2011. As you can see, the clouds of plume can transport a great deal of material into the atmosphere, and while some heavy particles will settle out, the smaller ones may get lofted into the upper atmosphere.

    The images and data that CALIPSO and its lidar CALIOP provide are vital in exploring aerosol transport by enabling users access to backscatter profiles, optical depth measurements, depolarization ratios, and uncertainty values. HYSPLIT model is a comprehensive transport model that can use information of dynamics (wind speed, circulation patterns, etc.) and provide probable trajectories or paths of transport for a certain location and event. In this study, Dr. Neda Boyouk and Dr. Michael Hill paired coincidences between CALIPSO profiles and HYSPLIT’s predicted trajectories from the location of Nabro Eruption at various altitudes ranging from 10km-19.5km.

    CALIPSO level 2 data is processed and categorized into clouds and aerosol layers and also presents the most likely type of aerosol or cloud present in a particular feature. This can help to narrow down the types of aerosol layers present in the areas surrounding the eruption.

    The ultimate goal of the analysis of this eruption is to paint a full picture of aerosol transport from Nabro’s location to various altitudes and global locations. The eruption did eventually produce a stratospheric layer, which was observed by Hampton University’s own lidar on July 20th, 2011. It’s pathway all the way across the Atlantic to Hampton, Virginia was an interesting and pleasantly surprising one.