SULFUROUS ODORS: A SIGNAL OF ENTRY INTO AN ASH PLUME - BUT PERHAPS LESS RELIABLE FOR ESCAPE

Available reports note that the odors of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) and a striking match (sulfur dioxide) are generally noticed by flight crew members when encountering volcanic ash clouds. This is particularly true when the concentration of these gases is low. However, when individuals are subjected to slightly higher concentrations of the same gases, they can undergo 'olfactory fatigue'. That is, their smell receptors get saturated, they get used to the smell and they mistakenly think that the gas is gone. Therefore, the flight crew can count on their sense of smell to signal to them that they are near or entering a volcanic ash cloud, but they should not count on this same sense of smell to tell them when the volcanic ash is gone. It needs to be determined whether or not these higher concentrations of sulfurous gases really do exist in an ash cloud; and pilots need to be trained, if indeed it is determined that volcanic eruptions could result in concentrations of sulfurous gases that are high enough to cause 'olfactory fatigue'.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • These proceedings contain the abstract only of this presentation.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Federal Coordinator, Meteorological Services & Support Research

    8455 Colesville Road, Suite 1500
    Silver Spring, MD  United States  20901
  • Authors:
    • Wunderman, R
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2004-11

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 1p
  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety, June 21-24, 2004, Alexandria, Virginia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00988850
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 20 2005 12:00AM