Dr Andrew McGonigle

MSci, DPhil,

Department of Geography

Reader in Volcano Remote Sensing

A.McGonigle@Sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 7961

Full contact details

Dr Andrew McGonigle
Department of Geography
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
Sheffield
S3 7ND
Profile

Andrew has an MSci degree in Theoretical Physics (first class) from the University of St. Andrews and a DPhil in Laser Physics from the University of Oxford.

He then held a NERC Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge before moving to Sheffield in 2005 as a RCUK Academic Fellow. He has subsequently been promoted to Senior Research Fellow, and then Reader.

He serves on the editorial board of the journal Remote Sensing and as an associate scientist of the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia.

Research interests

My current work falls within the following three themes:

  • Volcano Remote Sensing
  • Volcano Atmosphere Interactions
  • Other Environmental Sensing

Volcano Remote Sensing

Measurements of the emission rates (fluxes) of gases released from volcanoes to the atmosphere are important indicators of underground conditions and used in eruption forecasting efforts.

Our group has focused on developing the next generation of remote sensing tools for measuring volcanic SO2 fluxes, based on differential optical absorption spectroscopy, and through the use of ultraviolet cameras, to capture data with far higher time resolution and accuracy than possible hitherto.

Present research concerns using these technologies to gain new insights into volcanic processes.

Volcano-Atmosphere Interactions

In addition to supplying important information about underground conditions, volcanic gases also play a number of very important roles, when released to the atmosphere. For instance, emitted SO2 is oxidised to form sulphate aerosol, which cools the Earth by reflecting sunlight back to space, hence countering anthropogenic global warming.

Furthermore, these emissions are significant in respect of global geochemical cycles, for example representing the primary mechanism for the transit of volatiles from the mantle to the atmosphere.

Finally, there is the recent discovery that tropospheric volcanic plumes are host to a series of fascinating and previously unrecognised chemical reactions, in particular, involving the depletion of ozone.

Other Environmental Sensing

In addition to volcanoes I am also interested in a number of other environmental sensing areas. I have developed lasers for monitoring the response of the atmosphere to pollution and have been involved in projects concerning the environmental impacts of power generation and industrial plants, aviation and biomass burning.

Finally, I am interested in the use of UAVs for a host of different environmental monitoring applications.

Field targets include the southern Italian volcanoes, Masaya volcano, Nicaragua and the volcanoes of Papua New Guinea.

Publications

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Research group

Current Students

  • Tom Wilkes (2015 start)
  • Tom Pering (2012 start)
    Passive and Active Degassing of CO2 and SO2 from volcanoes using Ultra-Violet Camera Technology

Former students

  • Giancarlo Tamburello (2012)
    UV camera based insights into the degassing of the Italian volcanoes
  • Euripides Kantzas (2011)
    Ultraviolet protocols for volcanic plume monitoring
Teaching activities

I teach a range of modules at graduate and undergraduate level focused on understanding the Earth system, volcanism and how we use remote sensing to understand both of these.

In teaching I try and make as many links as possible to daily life, and to other germane subjects in geography and beyond to help understanding and really emphasise the unity of knowledge amidst the sometimes confusing modular system.

I also try and include the most up to date and exciting developments in these fields especially in the context of my own research.

I use lecturing and small group teaching styles. I also teach on research skills and try and really make the link between the usefulness of this ability at University but also beyond in every possible career which a Geography graduate may go onto pursue!

In addition to teaching at Sheffield I have been a speaker at the Education Without Borders conference in Dubai and at TEDxMunich.

Andrew teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including:

  • GEO101 Physical Systems at the Global Scale
  • GEO211 Applied Remote Sensing
  • GEO347 Geo-Environmental Project
  • GEO352 Geological Hazards
  • GEO368 Planetary Geoscience
  • GEO6030 Research Design in Physical Geography
  • GEO6606 Spatial Techniques for Environmental Analysis

All staff also engage in personal supervision and tutoring of individual students at all three undergraduate levels in the following modules:

  • GEO163 (Information & Communication Skills for Geographers)
  • GEO263 or GEO264 (Research Design in Human or Physical Geography)
  • GEO356 (Geographical Research Project)
Additional research projects
Volcano Remote Sensing

Volcano remote sensing.jpg

Gas release from the craters of Mt. Etna

Measurements of the emission rates (fluxes) of gases released from volcanoes to the atmosphere are important indicators of underground conditions and used in eruption forecasting efforts. Our group has focused on developing the next generation of remote sensing tools for measuring volcanic SO2 fluxes, based on differential optical absorption spectroscopy, and through the use of ultraviolet cameras, to capture data with far higher time resolution and accuracy than possible hitherto. Present research concerns using these technologies to gain new insights into volcanic processes.


Recent Research Highlights

Stromboli gas release

Measuring explosive gas release on Stromboli

Captured temporal variations in the passive gas release from Mt. Etna using ultraviolet cameras. These data have been used to unravel, for the first time from the perspective of gas flux data, the short term dynamics of gas transport through magma and passive discharge to the atmosphere in a basaltic volcanic system. An article on this topic will be submitted in due course.

We gratefully acknowledge the sponsors of this work, which include: RCUK (Academic Fellowship to AMcG), NERC (Post Doctoral Fellowship to AMcG); the Rolex Awards for Enterprise; the AXA Research Fund (Post Doctoral Fellowship to EPK); the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia and the Royal Society.

The first corroboration of a high time resolution (order 1 Hz) volcanic gas flux and geophysical datasets was performed on Stromboli volcano, demonstrating clear correlation between the gas released in each strombolian explosion and the corresponding seismic and thermal signatures. This integration of data opens the way for more holistic volcanic investigations than possible previously.

McGonigle, A.J.S., Aiuppa, A., Ripepe, M., Kantzas, E.P. and Tamburello, G. (2009). Spectroscopic capture of 1 Hz volcanic SO2 fluxes and integration with volcano geophysical data. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L21309.
doi:10.1029/2009GL040494 Protocols have been defined for the use of the UV camera technology, which has huge potential in volcanology, yet must be applied with due care in order to ensure that meaningful data are acquired – eg: operation with at least two bandpass filters is mandatory.

Kantzas, E.P., McGonigle, A.J.S., Tamburello, G., Aiuppa, A. and Bryant, R.G. (2010). Protocols for UV camera volcanic SO2 measurements. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 194(1-3), 55-60.
doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.05.003 The first use of the imaging capacity of ultraviolet cameras to capture emission rates from heterogeneous sources in a fumarole field (La Fossa crater, Vulcano), providing more detailed information that available by simply sampling the bulk plume.

Tamburello, G., Kantzas, E.P., McGonigle, A.J.S., Aiuppa, A. and Guidice, G. (2011). UV camera measurements of fumarole field degassing (La Fossa crater, Vulcano Island), Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 199(1-2), 47-52.
doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.10.004 The high temporal resolution of the UV cameras (of order 1 Hz) has been used to study the dynamics of strombolian volcanism, for the first time, by characterising the amount of gas released in active (explosions and puffing) vs. passive ways and through detailed comparison of the gas fluxes with contemporaneously acquired geophysical information. An article on this topic is currently sub judice.

Volcano-Atmosphere Interactions

In addition to supplying important information about underground conditions, volcanic gases also play a number of very important roles, when released to the atmosphere. For instance, emitted SO2 is oxidised to form sulphate aerosol, which cools the Earth by reflecting sunlight back to space, hence countering anthropogenic global warming. Furthermore, these emissions are significant in respect of global geochemical cycles, for example representing the primary mechanism for the transit of volatiles from the mantle to the atmosphere. Finally, there is the recent discovery that tropospheric volcanic plumes are host to a series of fascinating and previously unrecognised chemical reactions, in particular, involving the depletion of ozone.


Recent Research Highlights

In view of the importance of volcanic gas release to the atmosphere in global geochemical cycles and the plumes' radiative and chemical impacts we have performed a number of studies aimed at better quantifying these discharges, particularly at the arc-scale, and in locations such as: Japan, Italy, the Marianas, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Antarctica and Hawaii. The most recent work to this end concerns volcanism in Kamchatka, from which an article is currently in review.

Ozone loss trace through the plume of Eyjafjallajökull

Ozone loss trace through the plume of Eyjafjallajökull

A seminal breakthrough in volcanology from the last decade has been the observation of bromine monoxide in tropospheric volcanic plumes, whose presence implies the depletion of ozone therein. We have empirically backed this up by reporting observations of ozone holes created by a number of volcanoes, in particular, over the UK during the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland.

Vance, A., McGonigle, A.J.S., Aiuppa, A., Stith, J.L., Turnbull, K., and von Glasow, R. (2010). Ozone depletion in tropospheric volcanic plumes, Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L22802.
doi:10.1029/2010GL044997
Volcano SO2

Thank you for your interest in this code – I hope it helps you.

FIRST

Please download, print and read the installation instructions, using the link (see right)

THEN

Download and install the code according to these instructions

volcanoSO2 install instructions (70KB PDF)

volcanoSO2.exe (19.7MB .zip file)

Other environmental sensing

In addition to volcanoes I am also interested in a number of other environmental sensing areas. I have developed lasers for monitoring the response of the atmosphere to pollution and have been involved in projects concerning the environmental impacts of power generation and industrial plants, aviation and biomass burning. Finally, I am interested in the use of UAVs for a host of different environmental monitoring applications.