Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS)

Under MULTIMO, we developed a new method for remote sensing of volcanic gas emissions, principally of SO2 gas. Measurements of SO2 fluxes from volcanoes provide a key diagnostic of volcanic activity and hence are crucial to volcanic hazard assessment. We were the first to establish an alternative technology for ultraviolet sensing of volcanic emissions, finding a replacement for an outdated technology (the COSPEC instrument) which has since the early 1970s served volcano observatories and atmospheric scientists interested in volcano emissions.

There has been very rapid uptake by the volcanological community of the new techniques following our active dissemination of results via international conferences and workshops, and publication in international journals (geophysics, volcanology). We were instrumental in assisting the Montserrat Volcano Observatory to set up the world's first remote SO2 flux surveillance system on a volcano. Other observatories worldwide are now borrowing this approach, including the INGV in Italy for surveillance of the Southern Italian volcanoes.

The key innovations of the approach are the miniaturisation of the spectrometers, the simplicity of optical parts, the ease for automation and data telemetry, and the application of real-time data processing algorithms. Above all, the methodology permits high time resolution and also high spatial resolution measurements of volcanic plumes. In terms of time resolution, there is now the possibility for routine correlation of geochemical datastreams with results from geodesy and seismology.

The expected benefits include improved volcanic hazard assessment and greatly enhanced characterisation of volcanic sulfur emissions from volcanoes worldwide in both time and space.

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Reported by

Cambridge Volcanology Group
CB2 3EN Cambridge
United Kingdom
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