Wright, R, Flynn, L, Garbeil, H, Harris, A, Pilger, E (2002). Automated volcanic eruption detection using MODIS. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 82(1), 135-155.
The moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) flown on-board NASA's first earth observing system (EOS) platform, Terra, offers complete global data coverage every 1-2 days at spatial resolutions of 250, 500, and 1000 m. Its ability to detect emitted radiation in the short (4 mum)- and long (12 mum)-wave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, combined with the excellent geolocation of the image pixels (similar to 200 m), makes it an ideal source of data for automatically detecting and monitoring high-temperature volcanic thermal anomalies. This paper describes the underlying principles of, and results obtained from, just such a system, Our algorithm interrogates the MODIS Level 1B data stream for evidence of high-temperature volcanic features. Once a hotspot has been identified, its details (location, emitted spectral radiance, satellite observational parameters) are written to an ASCII text file and transferred via file transfer protocol (FTP) to the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), where the results are posted on the Internet (http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu), The global distribution of volcanic hotspots can be examined visually at a variety of scales using this website, which also allows easy access to the quantitative data contained in the ASCII files themselves. We outline how the algorithm has proven robust as a hotspot detection tool for a wide range of eruptive styles at both permanently and sporadically active volcanoes including Soufriere Hills (Montserrat), Popocatepetl (Mexico), Bezymianny (Russia), and Merapi (Java), amongst others. We also present case studies of how the system has allowed the onset, development,. and cessation of discrete eruptive events to be monitored at Nyamuragira (Congo), Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion Island), and Shiveluch (Russia). (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Inc.