Building peace in the minds of men and women

Project 705 - Building Global Capacity for the Observation of Volcanic and Atmospheric Change

Project Updates - 2022

First IGCP Workshop on Volcanic Gas Studies: Methods, Best Practices, and Interactions in the Northern Andes Organized in Quito during 13-18 December 2021, hosted by IGEPN (Ecuador) and including 9 participants from the volcano observatories in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. The event had scientific presentations in hybrid mode, tutorials, field measurements, social and planning activities.


Participation in First International Conference on Risk on the Virunga Volcanoes, DR Congo. In the aftermath of the May 2021 eruption of Nyiragongo volcano, the government of DRC, together with Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO) and the scientific support of IAVCEI (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior) organized a high-level scientific event which among other objectives sought to delineate a 5-year development plan for GVO. The event took place in Goma on 19-21 March 2022 and was attended by more than 200 participants with civil, academic, governmental, and international cooperation representants. Project researchers participated in discussion panels, during and after the conference and discussed scientific results from the observations carried out on Virunga since 2003.


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Installation of gas measurement stations on the volcanoes Nyiragongo (DR Congo), Rincón de la Vieja (Costa Rica), and Ruapehu (New Zealand). Gas monitoring instrumentation of the NOVAC network were installed during March and May 2022 on these three volcanoes by groups of Chalmers (Sweden), USGS (USA), GVO (DR Congo), OVSICORI (Costa Rica), and GNS Science (New Zealand). Data is transmitted in real time to the volcano observatories and shared with the database of the project..


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Training of staff from Goma Volcano Observatory (DR Congo) and Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica. In connection with installation of equipment, training on technical aspects and data analysis was carried out with staff from GVO and OVSICORI. This activity involved at least 10 people from both observatories.


Assistance during volcanic unrest in Cumbre Vieja (Canary Islands) and San Miguel (Azores Islands). Remote assistance on evaluation of data and provision of instruments for volcanic gas monitoring was given to the volcano observatories in Canarias (INVOLCAN/ITER) and Azores (CIVISA).


Co-organization of 14th Field Workshop of IAVCEI/CCVG. Several members of this project are involved in the Organizing and Scientific Committees of the main workshop of the scientific community working on volcanic gasses, which will be held in November 2022 in Arequipa-Peru, and surrounding volcanoes. Important efforts are being made to obtain funding from different sources, including IGCP, to support the travel of colleagues from low-income countries to this important event.


Downlad Circular


Project Updates - 2021

First IGCP Workshop on Volcanic Gas Studies: Methods, Best Practices, and Interactions in the Northern Andes. The meeting will be held in Ecuador during 13-18 December 2021 and will have the participation of 9 staff members of 5 volcano observatories in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. These observatories are responsible for monitoring 55 out of 73 active volcanoes in the region and they have identified the need to share information on how to better acquire, process, and interpret measurements of volcanic gas emissions using methods of direct sampling and remote sensing from ground and space. The workshop will allow strengthening collaboration and plan future projects in the region and will serve as a pilot example to replicate similar workshops in other regions of the world.

The project produced a series of videos that give an overview of the components that make up a NOVAC scanning DOAS instrument.



Brief outline of the project

The emission of volcanic gases and ash to the atmosphere is a common feature of volcanic activity in at least 150 volcanoes on Earth’s surface. These volcanic plumes have direct effects on humans and the environment, from local to global, depending on their magnitude and location. A timely and correct interpretation of observations of volcanic plumes can be the key for timely prediction and for assessing the large-scale impact of volcanic eruptions. During the past 15 years, a global collaboration for the observation of volcanic plumes called NOVAC has been established between volcanologists and remote sensing experts on nearly 50 volcanoes of the world, located mostly in developing countries.

Although observations are performed routinely and automatically, there is a need to build local capacities for the interpretation of the data on its own and in relation to other observations, particularly during periods of volcanic unrest. With this project we aim at supporting a collaboration between experts of different disciplines to exploit NOVAC data and decipher the meaning of volcanic plume signals for eruption prediction and impact. This will be the most efficient way to build local capacity within a global collaboration.


Related Information

  • Duration: 2020-2024
  • IGCP Theme: Geohazards


  • Dr. Santiago Arellano (Sweden)
    Address: Chalmers University of Technology Department of Space, Earth and Environment Hörsalsvägen 11, Floor 4, Gothenburg, Sweden