13 June 2011

Two Amazing Images from Space

Posted by Dan Satterfield

The Chaiten Puyehue volcano in Chile continues to spew and enormous amount of ash, and has me wondering if we are getting to the point that we could see a global climate impact from the eruption. Vulcanologist Charles Stern at Colorado Univ. said back in May that the eruption was high in silica and low in Sulfur, which would negate the effects of a major global temperature change. I ‘ve emailed Dr. Stearn and will let you know if that has changed, but it is unlikely. The huge eruption of Mt. Pinatubo caused the globe to cool about 0.5C back in the 1990’s and it’s well known that volcanoes can affect the global climate.

NASA Terra image showing the huge ash cloud from the Puyehue Volcano.


The ash cloud is incredible though as the image below from the NASA Terra satellite shows. The true colour image shows thick ash covering much of South America and in fact the ash cloud has spread to New Zealand. Flights have been canceled in Australia and NZ because of it! The last major eruption in the Southern Andes was Chaiten in 2008. It last erupted about 9370 years ago, which is just a blink of the eye in geological time.

In Arizona the wildfire continues to show up clearly on weather satellite and the Terra satellite images:

Smoke is clearly visible to the right of center in the image. Click image for higher res. view. From MODIS sensor on NASA Terra Sat.

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