Lighting Passport at the Irazú Volcano:

one of the tallest and most active volcanoes in Central America.

Rez Mani
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The Lighting Passport smart phone spectrometer was an essential tool for the research and climate studies conducted for this book series. This piece of scientific equipment allows us to test multiple environmental parameters all at once, combine the data and observe the aspects of these high altitude cloud forest ecosystems so that they can be documented for sustainability and preservation purposes.

We didn’t just use the Lighting Passport to measure and test the various lighting parameters relevant for horticulture and tropical plant growth such as Photosynthetically Active Radiation PAR, Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density PPFD, Yield Photon Flux Density YPFD, Day Light Integral DLI and spectrum. Since this unit tests the SP ratio, Flicker, Flicker Percentage & Index, Circadian Stimulus, and Human Photopigment; its data collection capabilities are superior to any other smart phone spectrometer. Therefore we decided to use the Lighting Passport as an overall environmental measurement tool because it documents many lighting aspects and records important aspects of the overall climate as well such as humidity, temperature, GPS, and many other important environmental parameters also. The lighting Passport can with accuracy analyze intense tropical sunlight and also picks up accurate data in low light settings like sunsets as well making it an essential tool for our investigation of the volcanoes here in Costa Rica.

Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density is the number of photosynthetically active photons falling on a square meter per second,which at this altitude is very high. Photosynthetically active photons fall anywhere from 400-700 nanometers in wavelength and therefore anything before 400 nm is not considered which is ultraviolet radiation and PPFD past 700 nm which is known as far red, is not considered.

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Irazú Volcano National Park parking lot on clear and cloudy afternoons

Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density is a lighting parameter that is calculated relative to an already measured spectrum, yet may not be correlated to a specific plant response from lighting conditions. Therefore to monitor how efficient a light source is for plants and the effects lighting has on plants; Yield Photon Flux Density is a scientific lighting parameter more suitable for this research. To scientifically correlate natural lighting to plant responses we have to weigh the value of required photosynthetic active radiation by the tropical plant species to get YPFD or Yield Photon Flux Density. YPFD values will fluctuate relative to the referenced benchmark which might be anything from Chlorophyll A or B to the specific individual plant photoreceptors like phytochrome for example. Here we can see the difference between PPFD and YPFD measurements from the Irazú Volcano summit on a very sunny day with clear visibility.

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PPFD and YPFD measurements from the Irazú Volcano summit referenced to Chlorophyll A & B

We used the Lighting Passport because with the click of a button we can collect and save all this lighting data and additional valuable environmental information such as temperature, humidity, GPS location and more which makes this instrument ideal for measuring different micro climates and ecosystems in environments that are difficult to reach and work at such as the peak of the Irazú Volcano National Park in Costa Rica!At this altitude, although it’s very cold the sunlight illumination is intense. To monitor and document the many lighting aspects of the sunlight in this area this smartphone spectrometer was extremely beneficial.


Correlated Color Temperature CCT was also measured. An example of CCT would be moonlight which is about 4,100-4,150 K and the clear blue daytime sky will be roughly 15,000-27,000 K. CCT is expressed in terms of Kelvin or K. Anything below 3,300 K is considered warm in color temperature, whereas 3,300-6,000 K is considered cool and is a brighter color temperature. High up at the summit of the Irazú Volcano the measurements of the CCT showed 6,330-6,385 K during the very cloudy days. During the sunny days with clear visibility the CCT was a bit warmer ranging from 5,732-5,772. Any CCT over 5,300 is a bright enough color which could enhance people’s awareness and focus.

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Exotic tropical flora found in high altitude climates of Costa Rica

Color Rendering Index or CRI is the measurement of the effectiveness of the light source to illuminate the true color of an object like the exotic tropical flora growing naturally all over the National Park of the Irazú Volcano for example. Light sources producing a high CRI measurement will reveal true color with bright vividness, where with low CRI light observing real color will be difficult and photography will be challenging as the light will create dull images.

In this case the sunlight reaching the surface of the Irazú Volcano summit at 11,260 feet or 3,432 meters in altitude has a CRI of 97 on the cloudy days with poor visibility and heavy cloud coverage, yet CRI was 78 on the clear sunny days. This variation may be due to the immense amounts of acids, particulate matter, water vapor and aerosols or sulfur rich gases being pumped out by the Turrialba Volcano just 5.5 miles or  9 kilometers the east of Irazú. These aerosols deriving from the Turrialba Volcano are carried right over the Irazú Volcano summit by the prevailing winds in Central America.

Sulfur Dioxide emissions coming from active volcanoes are a frequent point of observation for scientists studying volcanoes. This is also a popular topic for atmospheric scientists as well. Sulfur dioxide is released by a magma body at low depth (a few km for example) and when the hydrothermal system cannot "digest" it all to convert into other sulfur entities (H2S, SO42--, native S...). So when it appears, it suggests magma is near the surface. However it doesn't give us any kind of time prediction. Sometimes it appears years prior to eruption like in the case of the Turrialba Volcano for example.

In 2018 a column of ash or volcanic plume was seen higher than 3,280 feet or 1,000 meters in altitude, which was recorded coming from the Turrialba Volcano, trade winds carried this ash toward the capital city San José. . The eruption was at about 6:45 am in the morning and lasted for approximately 15 minute. The way it rose up was completely normal, due to low winds the eruption managed to rise completely without being spread around by the trade winds. The National Seismological Network also reported the activity by the volcano. Because the wind at the top of the crater was not very strong most of the ashes and aerosols fell around it.OVSCORI researchers believed the eruption reports may increase, because there is not much wind at the top of the volcano so they will be easier to observe and report. Data collection and investigative services have increased because now the eruption columns can be observed easier. The Turrialba Volcano National Park, in Cartago, has been closed to the public since 2012 due to its constant volcanic activity

 

The total gas flux of the Turrialba Volcano actually went from 200-250 tons a a day of released sulfur dioxide to over 1000 tons a day on Febuary 13, 14 of 2019. 4,000-5,000 meters up into the atmosphere which is a significant contribution to destroying our ozone layer which protects the earths surfact from significat amounts of harful UV ratidation. Geochemists from OVSCORI tested for several kinds of gases and their combined ratios helped these geochemists to accurately predict what the magma was doing underground. For example the released Carbon Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide were tested around four times every day which really helped with the predictions and the construction of the archive data. All of this information was made publically available on the OVSCORI website.

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Main Crater of Irazú Volcano thermal image taken by Maria Martinez Cruz a geochemist of OVSCORI on the 3rd of May, 2019 with a FLIR SC 660 camera

Below are some HD plots of  Turrialba eruptions column dispersion over the Irazú Volcano showcasing how these gases and volcanic ash ejected by Turrialba affected the Irazú Volcano as well as the chemical composition of the crater lake inside the Main Crater of the Irazú Volcano.

These plots use the AERMOD atmospheric dispersion modeling system to show the dispersion spread of volcanic emissions. These plots clearly illustrated how the emissions from the Turrialba Volcano just east of Irazú could affect the rainfall in the area in correlation to the Irazú crater lake chemical composition and plant vegetation inside the Irazú National Park.  The rain pH level at summit of Irazú volcano during 2018 was around 3 and 4.   

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Dispersed emissions plot from the Turrialba Volcano in an AERMOD atmospheric dispersion modeling system

These values are significantly impacted by the cloud coverage and relative humidity; therefore they increased the value of the data collected by the lighting passport because correlations between CRI, humidity and any other lighting parameters tested could be easily identifiable.

The Aermod dispersion model, computational code used by the Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry of the National University, along with the hourly average temperature, radiation, velocity and wind direction, relative humidity, among others, reported by the Meteorological Institute National IMN, estimates that the dispersion was up to 50 km around the volcano of gases and particles emitted by the Turrialba volcano from 8 am until 10 am local time September 17, 2016, would be dispersed in a predominantly northwest-west direction- southwest, with a lot of variation of the wind direction. So emissions would affect areas such as Braulio Carrillo National Park, Coronada, the capital city San José, Tres Ríos, Escazu Heredia, and more. In addition to the areas near the volcano, such as Finca Central, the yellow and red colors on the map indicate the places with the greatest possible effects due to the emanations of the volcano at the surface level. 

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Photographs taken of Turrialba eruptions from the OVSCORI permanent observation camera

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Turrialba volcano from 8 am until 10 am local time September 17, 2016

Below is an Aermod of January 9, 2018. The plume from the Turrialba Volcano lasted all day with dispersion to the south and southwest. This was a day with medium emission of ash and gases. The dispersion of the eruption column had a significant effect of the Orosí Valley which had heavy aerosol coverage.

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Aermod of Turrialba eruption on January 9, 2018

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Exotic tropical flora found in high alstitude climates of Costa Rica

The Lighting Passport was also really useful in the field because it measured temperature, humidity, time, date and GPS location and compiled everything into a neat report on the smartphone app. Note taking options within the app allowed us to accurately document our altitude and any other important information relevant to that particular ecosystem as we would ascend and descend these mountains and volcanoes throughout Costa Rica.  Blue light is scattered more than other wavelengths by the aerosols and gases in the atmosphere, surrounding Earth in a visibly blue layer, many of these gases came from volcanic emissions like those coming from the Turrialba Volcano just to the east of Irazú

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Poor visibility at the prehistorical Playa Hermosa crater and the Main Crater of the Irazú Volcano


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Lighting Passport measurement that were all taken on April 30,2019 a very cloudy day 

During the trip up to the summit of the Irazú Volcano in Febuary of 2019, it was a beautiful clear day with bright sunlight that made exploring the park very enjoyable. Visibility was the best ever seen in this area where it can frequently be extremely cloudy with very poor visibility. While climbing up to the top of the observation tower at the Irazú summit several lighting parameter measurements were taken to better understand the rapid fluctuations in the climate here

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Geographical location of Irazú Volcano relative to both Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean

The Irazú Volcano has a geographic lcation with close proximidity to both the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The geographical location combined with the altitude of 11,260 or 3,432 meters above sea level significantly contribute to the cloud formation and relative humidity in the Irazu Volcano National Park here in Costa Rica. The Irazú Volcano is less than 44 miles or 72 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean and is less than 41 miles or 66 kilometers from the Caribbean Sea. The geographic location of the Irazú Volcano inbetween these two massive bodies of water significantly contributes to the relative humidity and cloud coverage inside the park. Costa Rica is also within close proximidity to the equator, and the Irazú Volcano Is around 10 degrees North of the equator at 9.98ºN.The altitude of the Irazú Volcano is so high that it is possible to view both the Pacific Ocean and Carribean Sea during very clear days.

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Prehistorical Playa Hermosa crater at the summit of the Irazú Volcano


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Color changing lake in the Main Crater of the Irazú Volcano 11,260 feet or 3,432 meters above sea level


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Lighting Passport measurement taken on clear day charts show very high levels of Photosynthetically Photon Flux Density

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Lighting Passport comparison of clear day with good visibility and extremely cloudy day at the Irazú Volcano summit 11,260 feet or 3,432 meters in altitude.

Sunset Comparison

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Sunset measurement locations in Orosí Valley and Playa Herradura Pacific shoreline

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Relative Intensity Comparison

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PPFD Comparison

Heavy cloud coverage in the Orosí Valley at the time of sunset measurement seemed have had a big impact on the spectrum and that may be the reason why the colors like red and far red peaks were decreased and blue was so intense relative to the sunset measurement taken on the Pacific shoreline of Costa Rica.

 

 If the measurements were done on a clear day in the valley, the result would have been different and may have been closer to the type of spectrum measured on the beach. With the Lighting Passport, measuring and comparing different lighting parameters is simplified.

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YPFD Comparison

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Sunset Comparison Data gathered by the Lighting Passport smartphone spectrometer

Ian Godfrey, BS. BA.,

Management & Global Business

(University of South Florida) United States of America


María Martinez Cruz, PhD.,

Geochemistry & Volcanology

(OVSCORI-UNA) Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica


Geoffroy Avard, PhD.,

Responsible for Volcanic Surveillance Program

(OVSCORI-UNA) Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica


José Sibaja Brenes, M.Sc.,

General Director of Scientific Laboratory for Atmospheric Chemistry

(LAQAT-UNA) Escuela de Química, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica

 

 

Rez Mani, PhD.,

Application Scientist for Allied Scientific Pro

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Special thanks to the contributors from OVSCORI-UNA, the National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica and Environmental Observatory of the National University of Costa Rica and Allied Scientific Pro.

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