Mount Etna

Etna eruptions

10 May 2008 00:00 UTC

Mount Etna
Mount Etna

Metop-A and MSG observe Etna eruptions in May 2008.

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Published on

10 May 2008

By Nicholas Fiorenza and HansPeter Roesli (EUMETSAT)

On 10 May 2008, an eruption of the Etna volcano on the Italian island of Sicily was measured by the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME-2) on EUMETSAT's Metop-A polar-orbiting satellite. The data were evaluated by scientists at the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), the German Aerospace Center, in Oberpfaffenhofen, a member of EUMETSAT's Ozone Monitoring and Atmospheric Chemistry Satellite Application Facility.

Etna began erupting on 10 May, belching sulphur dioxide up to 12km into the atmosphere. GOME-2 measured the sulphur dioxide cloud as it moved over Greece on 11 May, Iran on 13 May and Turkmenistan on 14 May (see three-day composite SO2 product, 11–14 May, source: DLR, Applied Remote Sensing Cluster).

The movement of the SO2 cloud over the Mediterranean Sea towards the Middle East and up to Iran can also be followed in Meteosat-9 Ash RGB products (see greenish cloud patch in the Ash RGB animation, 10 May 13:00 UTC–12 May 06:00 UTC).

A second eruption of Etna took place on 13 May from an 800m crack which opened north-east of Etna's south-eastern crater, emitting large amounts of sulphur dioxide which were measured by GOME-2 and MSG SEVIRI over southern Italy (see images below).

While GOME-2 detected the SO2 cloud in the morning of 14 May, Meteosat-9 'saw' the eruption immediately, i.e within 15 minutes, at around 09:30 UTC on 13 May. The eruptions were some of the heaviest since 2002 and volcanic ash forced the closure of the nearby Catania airport.

Etna eruptions
Figure 1: Metop-A GOME-2 Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) Retrieval, 14 May 2008. Source: DLR
Etna eruptions
Figure 2: Meteosat-9 Ash RGB with ECMWF winds at 200 hPa (vectors and isotachs), 13 May 2008, 12:00 UTC. Animation (09:15–20:45 UTC)