Satellites watch as Bali’s Mount Agung volcano propels ash and gas into the atmosphere, threatening climate cooling


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An animation of satellite tv for pc pictures reveals Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia erupting. The pictures have been acquired by Himawari-Eight, a Japanese climate satellite tv for pc, between 12:00 UTC on Nov. 26th and eight:00 UTC on Nov. 27th.  (Be aware: When the animation web page comes up, be certain that to click on on ‘play’ there. Supply: SLIDER BY RAMMB/CIRA @ CSU)

With magma boiling at its peak and swelling its physique from inside, Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia has woke up from greater than a half century of slumber.

Agung has been rumbling since August. Now it’s propelling ash hundreds of toes into the ambiance, prompting evacuations of hundreds of individuals from the hazard zone round it and inflicting authorities to halt flights out and in of Bali’s worldwide airport. (Flights have resumed at the moment to permit stranded vacationers to get out.)

Dramatic views of the eruption have been captured by photographers on the bottom. And now you possibly can watch what it seems to be wish to satellites in orbit.

I created the animation above utilizing a cool, public web site known as “Satellite tv for pc Loop Interactive Information Explorer in Actual-time,” or SLIDER. It consists of pictures acquired by the Himawari-Eight climate satellite tv for pc between 12:00 UTC on Nov. 26th and eight:00 UTC on Nov. 27th. Click on on it after which be certain that to press play on the animation web page that comes up. (You could have to be affected person for the animation to completely load.)

The animation begins at night time. Look ahead to flickering blue pixels. My guess is that the satellite tv for pc sensor is detecting flashes from erupting lava. One other potential clarification is that lightning is going on in clouds billowing up from the volcano. There are additionally fainter bluish emissions which can be possible indicative of ash plumes.

As day turns to nighttime, look ahead to brownish plumes of ash spewing from the summit of Agung.

Sulphur dioxide plumes from the eruption of Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia

Information from NASA’s Aura satellite tv for pc present the excessive sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations related to the volcanic eruption of Mount Agung in japanese Bali, Indonesia, on Monday, November 27, 2017. (Supply: NOAA/NASA)

Ash isn’t the one factor Agung is propelling into the ambiance. The volcano additionally has been emitting massive quantities of sulfur dioxide. Whereas invisible to our eyes, satellite tv for pc sensors can detect the SO2 — a gasoline that can hurt individuals and in addition alter the local weather.

Sulfur dioxide spewed into the ambiance by a volcano like Agung reacts with water to supply sulfuric acid aerosols. If an eruption is highly effective sufficient to propel these aerosols into the stratosphere, they’ll cool the worldwide local weather by reflecting daylight again into house — they usually can keep there for a quantity years.


International imply floor temperatures from Berkeley Earth (black dots), main volcanoes (shaded areas), and estimated temperatures based mostly on human and pure radiative forcing (purple) with a 1963-size Agung eruption in mid-2017 (blue). The baseline interval is 1961-90. (This graphic was created by Carbon Transient for an evaluation of Agung’s potential local weather impression.)

Mount Agung final erupted massively in 1963. That pure catastrophe killed greater than 1,00zero individuals. It additionally had an considerable local weather impression, decreasing the worldwide common temperature by about zero.1 diploma C. Ought to the present exercise at Agung result in an eruption of that magnitude, world temperatures may drop by zero.1 to zero.2 levels C, in keeping with knowledge scientist Zeke Hausfather, writing in an evaluation on the Carbon Transient web site.

The time-lapse above reveals a large phreatic eruption from Agung on Nov. 25th. Phreatic eruptions happen when water comes into contact with lava or different intensely sizzling materials, inflicting an explosion of steam, water, ash, and rocks.

As massive and dangerous because the Nov. 25th eruption seems to be, it’s nothing just like the one in 1963. So is Agung positively headed for one thing like that?

Sadly, there was very restricted monitoring of the precursors to the 1963 eruption, in keeping with Tracy Okay.P. Gregg, a geologist on the State College of New York at Buffalo. And as she places it in a superb science backgrounder at The Dialog:

We don’t but know if Agung volcano is presently giving us two weeks, two months or two years (or extra) of warning as a result of we don’t know exactly what it did earlier than its 1963 eruption.

If you wish to monitor the volcano in realtime, try this webcam:


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