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On February, 13th 2014, the Kelud volcano, located in Indonesia, spewed tons of volcanic materials into the atmosphere, being one of the most powerful eruptions on earth since the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991. A team of scientists from NASA’s Langley Research Center and the University of Wyoming mounted a rapid balloon deployment to make in situ measurements in this volcanic plume in order to assess its radiative and climate impacts and provide validation measurements for the CALIPSO space-borne lidar mission.

Between 14-21th May 2014, they deployed small and large aerosol payloads from the Northern Australian Territory North to intercept the Kelud plume and retrieve information on the physical and optical properties of volcanic aerosols which already circumnavigated several times the world in the tropical belt.

Along with satellite observations from CALIPSO, the results from the campaign showed that ash particles can persist in the atmosphere for several months and cool climate for a longer time than expected.

Mission Highlights