Aerial strategies advance volcanic gas measurements at inaccessible, strongly degassing volcanoes

E. J. Liu*, A. Aiuppa, A. Alan, S. Arellano, M. Bitetto, N. Bobrowski, S. Carn, R. Clarke, E. Corrales, J. M. De Moor, J. A. Diaz, M. Edmonds, T. P. Fischer, J. Freer, G. M. Fricke, B. Galle, G. Gerdes, G. Giudice, A. Gutmann, C. HayerI. Itikarai, J. Jones, E. Mason, B. T. McCormick Kilbride, K. Mulina, S. Nowicki, K. Rahilly, T. Richardson, J. Rüdiger, C. I. Schipper, I. M. Watson, K. Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Volcanic emissions are a critical pathway in Earth’s carbon cycle. Here, we show that aerial measurements of volcanic gases using unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) transform our ability to measure and monitor plumes remotely and to constrain global volatile fluxes from volcanoes. Combining multi-scale measurements from ground-based remote sensing, long-range aerial sampling, and satellites, we present comprehensive gas fluxes—3760 ± [600, 310] tons day−1 CO2 and 5150 ± [730, 340] tons day−1 SO2—for a strong yet previously uncharacterized volcanic emitter: Manam, Papua New Guinea. The CO2/ST ratio of 1.07 ± 0.06 suggests a modest slab sediment contribution to the sub-arc mantle. We find that aerial strategies reduce uncertainties associated with ground-based remote sensing of SO2 flux and enable near–real-time measurements of plume chemistry and carbon isotope composition. Our data emphasize the need to account for time averaging of temporal variability in volcanic gas emissions in global flux estimates.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberabb9103
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages9
JournalScience Advances
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020


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