Tropospheric and ionospheric anomalies induced by volcanic and saharan dust events as part of geosphere interaction phenomena

Valerio Tramutoli, Francesco Marchese, Alfredo Falconieri, Carolina Filizzola, Nicola Genzano, Katsumi Hattori, Mariano Lisi, Jann Yenq Liu, Dimitar Ouzounov, Michel Parrot, Nicola Pergola, Sergey Pulinets

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In this work, we assessed the possible relation of ionospheric perturbations observed by Detection of Electro-Magnetic Emissions Transmitted from Earthquake Regions (DEMETER), Global Positioning System total electron content (GPS TEC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-derived outgoing longwave-Earth radiation (OLR), and atmospheric chemical potential (ACP) measurements, with volcanic and Saharan dust events identified by ground and satellite-based medium infrared/thermal infrared (MIR/TIR) observations. The results indicated that the Mt. Etna (Italy) volcanic activity of 2006 was probably responsible for the ionospheric perturbations revealed by DEMETER on 4 November and 6 December and by GPS TEC observations on 4 November and 12 December. This activity also affected the OLR (on 26 October; 6 and 23 November; and 2, 6, and 14 December) and ACP (on 31 October-1 November) analyses. Similarly, two massive Saharan dust episodes, detected by Robust Satellite Techniques (RST) using Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) optical data, probably caused the ionospheric anomalies recorded, based on DEMETER and GPS TEC observations, over the Mediterranean basin in May 2008. The study confirmed the perturbing effects of volcanic and dust events on tropospheric and ionospheric parameters. Further, it demonstrated the advantages of using independent satellite observations to investigate atmospheric phenomena, which may not always be well documented. The impact of this increased detection capacity in reducing false positives, in the framework of a short-term seismic hazard forecast based on the study of ionospheric and tropospheric anomalies, is also addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number177
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Lithosphere atmosphere ionosphere coupling
  • Saharan dust
  • Volcanic activity


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