Volcanic ash can damage aircraft and disrupt air traffic. Agencies around the world track volcanic clouds and issue alerts to the aviation community. Now data from NASA earth-observing satellites is improving the ability to detect and forecast the hazard to aviation from volcanic clouds.



Latest Updates

July 20, 2020
OMPS S02 Measurements from Raikoke
On June 22, 2019, the Raikoke volcano on Kuril Island erupted, spewing large volumes of ash and volcanic gases into the atmosphere. Volcanic ash (VA) and gasses pose a major threat to aviation, while gasses including sulfur dioxide (SO2) also impact climate and stratospheric ozone. Large concentrations of SO2 in the volcanic plumes pose a short-term hazard to aviation by impacting cabin air quality and also have possible long-term effects on aircraft. Traditionally, SO2 serves as a proxy for ash, which is the primary hazard to aircraft engines, frame and avionics. This map of the northern...
August 30, 2018
SNPP near-realtime fire detection product
On Saturday August 25, the Manam Island volcano has erupted on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. After the cloud dissipated, lava flows are identified by Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Fires and Thermal Anomalies Near Real-Time product from NASA LANCE.  Red points in the remote sensing image show the locations of lava flows in the Manam Island, on August 27, 2018.  
July 17, 2018
MODIS thermal time series for Fuego
The upper-right figure shows a plot of total emitted radiance (at 4 microns) from Fuego observed by MODIS (MODVOLC product) from 2000 to present. The time-series data appear that the recent Fuego eruption (June 03, 2018) came at the end of a long waxing-then-waning period of thermal output which began in 2015, and peaked sometime late 2017.
June 28, 2018
SNPP/OMPS SO2 map for Sierra Negra
SNPP/OMPS SO2 map for Sierra Negra on June 27, 2018. Based on the coincident IR observations the plume altitude increases moving away from the volcano. AIRS is not detecting any SO2 between the volcano and ~100ºW. If one assumes all the SO2 between the volcano and 100ºW is lower tropospheric and the rest is in the upper troposphere, the total SO2 mass is ~280 kilotons (~0.3 Tg) with ~0.1 Tg in the UTLS. 
June 28, 2018
Landsat 8 image aquired June 24th, 2018.
Landsat 8 image aquired June 24th, 2018. On June 3, 2018, torrents of hot ash, rock, and gas poured down ravines and stream channels on the slopes of Volcán de Fuego—Guatamala’s Volcano of Fire. More than three weeks after the eruption, the Landsat 8 satellite continued to detect elevated temperatures in some of the pyroclastic flow deposits. The avalanches of volcanic...
June 11, 2018
ALOS-2 interferogram comparing data from 1/30/18 vs. 5/8/18.  The above map shows ALOS-2 SAR scenes acquired in January 2018 and May 8, 2018 and shows the early opening of the lower East Rift Zone before May 8. In this first map there is a zone approximately 1.5 km wide where there is little motion of the surface, indicating that the magma injection is primarily around 1-2 km below the surface in this early stage.  In both maps, I overlaid in green...
June 7, 2018
ARIA damage proxy map of Fuego volcano
The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Caltech, also in Pasadena, created this Damage Proxy Map (DPM) depicting areas around Fuego volcano, Guatemala, that are likely damaged (shown by red and yellow pixels) as a result of pyroclastic flows and heavy ash spewed by Fuego volcano. The map is derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, operated by the...
June 6, 2018
VIIRS fires and thermal anomalies from 6/8/18, with VIIRS nighttime basemap. VIIRS fires and thermal anomalies from 6/6/18, with VIIRS nighttime basemap. VIIRS fires and thermal anomalies from 6/6/18...
June 5, 2018
VIIRS image of the Fuego eruption from June 3, 2018
Fuego in Guatemala is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes. For years, the towering Volcán de Fuego has puffed continuously, punctuated by occasional episodes of explosive activity, big ash plumes, lava flows, and avalanche-like debris slides known as pyroclastic flows. Just before noon on June 3, 2018, the volcano produced an explosive eruption that sent ash billowing thousands of meters into the air. A deadly mixture of ash, rock fragments, and hot gases...
June 1, 2018
VIIRS I15 Band
The movement of the recent Lava channel from fissure 8 is now reaching far east near the Kapoho crater. on June 1st at 1:55 am (HST), A band of enhanced radiance from the I15 VIIRS channel was consistent with USGS thermal imagery. It shows the rapid progress of the lava front toward the Kapoho crater 6 hours after the USGS Thermal map and indicates that the Lava  intersected road 132 leaving the communities of Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots without road access. USGS also reported...
May 26, 2018
ALOS-2 interferogram from June 23rd, 2018 acquisition relative to June 9th, 2018.
The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2), a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) satellite, is a follow-on mission from the "DAICHI", which contributed to cartography, regional observation, disaster monitoring, and resource surveys. ALOS-2 will succeed this mission with enhanced capabilities. Specifically, JAXA is conducting research and development activities to improve wide and high-resolution observation technologies developed for DAICHI in order to further fulfill social needs. Each interferometric synthetic aperature radar (InSAR) image, or interferogram, shows the amount...
May 23, 2018
Detailed view of the Leilani Estates showing the previous rift and an overlaid infrared image of the new rift (acquired May 14th by the Landsat 8 OLI)
Detailed view of the Leilani Estates showing the previous rift and an overlaid infrared image of the new rift (acquired May 14th by the Landsat 8 OLI) Zoomed out image acquired May 14th by the Landsat 8 OLI. Though the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has been erupting continuously...
May 22, 2018
lava flow dynamics slide 1
These images show lava observations from USGS helicopter thermal imagery and the NASA Landsat 8 and ESA Sentinel 2B satellites. The lava flow speed was calculated for the channel which opened on May 22nd from fissure 6 and 18 which reached the ocean sometime between May 23rd and May 24th. Using two satellite overpasses 12h 37min apart and the position of  the head of the lava flow from LandSat 8 and Sentinel 2B, the inferred mean flow was near 2.6 m/min. ...
May 19, 2018
OMI S02 map
Total column amount of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) from Kilauea volcanic eruption on May 19 2018 in free troposphere measured by Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on board NASA Aura satellite overlayed on SNPP/VIIRS True Color map. SO2 is criteria pollutant gas, which is harmful to people, plants and animals, causes acid rain and volcanic haze (vog). High resolution VIIRS true color map shows dense volcanic aerosol plume emitted from Kilauea main crater and advected in SW direction by...
May 18, 2018
Sentinel 2 data from June 2nd 2018
June 2nd, 2018: This Sentinel 2B Short Wave IR data shows the progress of the new lava channel toward the Kapoho Bay on June, 2nd around 9pm UTC (11 am HST). At that time, the flow head was around ~ 1500 yards (1.4 km) from the Kapoho Bay and the lastest USGS report (June 4th at 12 am HST) indicates that the Lava was only at 245 Yards (220 m) 37 hours later, giving an average speed of 34 yards/h. USGS indicates that Laze is likely to form at the entry...
May 18, 2018
Repeat flights during the current eruption are using GLISTIN to detect changes in Kilauea's topography associated with new lava flows, with the goal of measuring the erupted volume as a function of time and the total volume of the event. These observations prove extremely useful to model the evolution of these volcanic processes. Overpass Difference Dates: May 18, 2018 - May 19, 2018 This is a topography difference map captured by GLISTIN over the Lower East Rift Zone.  The...
May 16, 2018
VIIRS thermal hotspots from May 22
May 22nd, 2018: VIIRS thermal anomalies continues to locate lava fountains from fissure 6, 19 and 22 flowing toward the ocean though several channels consistent with thermal maps from the USGS on May, 22nd. VIIRS suggests hot spots along the coast consistent with Lava flow entries warming up the ocean in the proximity of the coast. VIIRS nighttime imagery shows the light coming from the lava and reaching saturation levels.  May 21st, 2018:...
May 15, 2018
OMPS SO2 map for the Kilauea eruption from May 22nd, 2018.
May 22nd 2018: OMPS SO2 map for the Kilauea eruption from May 22nd, 2018. The Ozone Mapping Profiling Suite (OMPS) Hyperspectral UV instrument onboard the Suomi NPP (SNPP) satellite observed large extent of the volcanic SO2 clouds emitted from Kilauea eruptions  on May 21-22 on Hawai'i Big island. The estimated SO2 emission rate is still elevated, at ~10-30,000 tons/day (2-6 times the long-term average flux for Kilauea) The SNPP orbit was not...
May 15, 2018
Demographics of the population within the mandatory evacuation zone of the Kilauea eruption.
These two map provide some socioeconomic information on age, structure, and economic status of the population affected by the recent Killauea Volcano eruption. Demographics of the population within the mandatory evacuation zone of the Kilauea eruption. Location of persons living below the poverty level on Hawai'i Island.
May 13, 2018
ISS Georeferenced Digital Camera Images of Kilauea Eruptive Activity 2018
This collection of visible-wavelength (RGB) digital camera images was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station at various times on May 6, 12, and 13 2018, then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center. The images provide regional context, and may be useful for visualization of the ongoing event. Higher spatial resolution images may be suitable for spatial analysis to...