9 April 2021

Weather Satellites Do Far More Than Monitor Weather. They Watch Volcanoes Too

Posted by Dan Satterfield

The La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent has rumbled to life and the loop below shows the second of two eruptions today. This is a dangerous volcano. It killed over 1000 in 1902 and it is a stratovolcano. Those are the ones that go BANG, unlike the shield volcanoes in Hawaii that spread runny lava everywhere. The last eruption was in April of 1979, and let’s hope this one is more like the 79 event and not the 1902 event.

GOES 16 is getting an image every 15 minutes of it and the loop below is a true colour loop using three of the satellite’s image channels to produce an almost true colour image. Hat tip to CIRA at Colorado State Uni. for the loop. The American weather satellites are free to the weather services and the public over the entire hemisphere. It’s one of our best exports that most people know nothing about. Here is just one example: Commercial airline flights through volcanic ash clouds can be very dangerous and our GOES weather satellites keep that from happening.

This is one to watch…