print page

One year after the Eyjafjöll, the Icelandic Grímsvötn volcano strongly erupted on Saturday 21st May, 2011

Absorbing aerosol index SO2 vertical column density
Absorbing aerosol index and SO2 columns over Europe (GOME-2 measurements)

The SACS service, operated at our intitute, follows the evolution of the ash and SO2 plumes in near-real-time.

This is achieved by delivering NEAR REAL-TIME data derived from satellite measurements regarding volcanic emissions by UV-visible (SCIAMACHY, OMI, GOME-2) and InfraRed (AIRS, IASI) instruments.

Link to NRT service (GOME2, OMI, SCIAMACHY, IASI and AIRS)

Grímsvötn, Iceland's most frequently active volcano in historical time, lies largely beneath the vast Vatnajökull icecap. University of Iceland geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said this eruption, which began Saturday (2011/05/21) at approximately 17:30 UTC, was Grímsvötn's largest eruption for one hundred years. It is hard to predict how long the eruption would last, but it might already be slowing. There are some signs the eruption plume is getting lower now. We may be seeing the first sign that it is starting to decline. In two or three days the worst should be over.

            Grímsvötn volcano
            (Credit: STR/AFP)

Iceland closed its main international airport and canceled all domestic flights Sunday (2011/05/22) as this powerful volcanic eruption sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 20 kilometers into the air. A no-fly zone has been put into effect 220 nautical miles surrounding the location of this event. Grímsvötn's eruption, which was accompanied by small earthquakes, comes just one year after the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted. The ash plunged areas near the volcano in southeast Iceland into darkness Sunday (2011/05/22) and covered buildings, cars and fields in a thick layer of gray soot. Civil protection workers urged residents to wear masks and stay indoors.

Extract from the Associated Press, Jill Lawless And Gudjon Helgason, Sun May 22, 6:53 pm ET.

Ash index IASI 2011/05/22
Detection of Ash (ULB) by IASI instrument.

SO2 vcd IASI 2011/05/22 Detection of SO2 (ULB) by IASI instrument.

SO2 vcd GOME-2 2011/05/22 Detection of SO2 (DLR) by GOME-2 instrument.

Useful Links



For more information, please contact : Nicolas Theys or Michel Van Roozendael

Last update on 22 Mar 2013