Detection of volcanic plumes, especially ash-laden ones, is important both for public health and aircraft safety. A variety of geophysical tools and satellite data are used to monitor volcanic eruptions and to predict the movement of ash. However, satellite-based methods are restricted by time of day and weather, while radars are often unavailable because of cost/portability. Here a method is proposed to detect volcanic plumes using GPS signal strength data. The strengths and limitations of the method are assessed using GPS data collected during the 2008 and 2009 eruptions of the Okmok and Mt. Redoubt volcanoes. Plume detections using this GPS technique are consistent with independently collected seismic and radar data.
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