Submitted as: model evaluation paper 10 Sep 2021

Submitted as: model evaluation paper | 10 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

The CAMS volcanic forecasting system utilizing near-real time data assimilation of S5P/TROPOMI SO2 retrievals

Antje Inness1, Melanie Ades1, Dimitris Balis3, Dmitry Efremenko2, Johannes Flemming1, Pascal Hedelt2, Maria-Elissavet Koukouli3, Diego Loyola2, and Roberto Ribas1 Antje Inness et al.
  • 1European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Shinfield Park, Reading, RG2 9AX, UK
  • 2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Methodik der Fernerkundung (IMF), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 3Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), operated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission, provides daily analyses and 5-day forecasts of atmospheric composition, including forecasts of volcanic sulphur dioxide (SO2) in near-real time. CAMS currently assimilates total column SO2 retrievals from the GOME-2 instruments on MetOp-B and -C and the TROPOMI instrument on Sentinel-5P which give information about the location and strength of volcanic plumes. However, the operational TROPOMI and GOME-2 retrievals do not provide any information about the height of the volcanic plumes and therefore some prior assumptions need to be made in the CAMS data assimilation system about where to place the resulting SO2 increments in the vertical. In the current operational CAMS configuration, the SO2 increments are placed in the mid-troposphere, around 550 hPa or 5 km. While this gives good results for the majority of volcanic emissions, it will clearly be wrong for eruptions that inject SO2 at very different altitudes, in particular exceptional events where part of the SO2 plume reaches the stratosphere.

A new algorithm, developed by DLR for GOME-2 and TROPOMI and optimized in the frame of the ESA-funded Sentinel-5P Innovation–SO2 Layer Height Project, the Full-Physics Inverse Learning Machine (FP_ILM) algorithm, retrieves SO2 layer height from TROPOMI in NRT in addition to the SO2 column. CAMS is testing the assimilation of these data, making use of the NRT layer height information to place the SO2 increments at a retrieved altitude. Assimilation tests with the TROPOMI SO2 layer height data for the Raikoke eruption in June 2019 show that the resulting CAMS SO2 plume heights agree better with IASI plume height retrievals than operational CAMS runs without the TROPOMI SO2 layer height information and that making use of the additional layer height information leads to improved SO2 forecasts than when using the operational CAMS configuration. By assimilating the SO2 layer height data the CAMS system can predict the overall location of the Raikoke SO2 plume up to 5 days in advance for about 20 days after the initial eruption.

Antje Inness et al.

Status: open (until 05 Nov 2021)

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Antje Inness et al.

Antje Inness et al.


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Short summary
This paper describes the way the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) produces forecasts of volcanic SO2. These forecast are provided routinely every day. They are cerated by blending SO2 data from satellite instruments (TROPOMI and GOME-2) with the CAMS model. We show that the quality of the CAMS SO2 forecasts can be improved if additional information about the height of volcanic plumes is provided in the satellite data.