Strategies, insights, and the recent advances in volcanic monitoring and...

Ramsey, M., and L. P. Flynn (2004), Strategies, insights, and the recent advances in volcanic monitoring and mapping with data from NASA’s Earth Observing System, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 135, 1-11, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2003.12.015.

In 1991, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a comprehensive program to study the Earth as one environmental system. Now called the Earth Science Enterprise (ESE), this coordinated monitoring effort was initially comprised of free-flying satellites and Space Shuttle missions, as well as airborne and ground-based studies. The satellite component of the ESE is known as the Earth Observing System (EOS), which has now entered a planned long-term global monitoring phase. The first EOS satellite, Terra, was launched in December of 1999 and offers integrated measurements of numerous solid earth and atmospheric processes, including volcanic activity. There are currently 10 NASA EOS-designated satellites carrying over thirty instruments, all of which are providing integrated measurements of the interactions between the Earth’s global cycles. Included in this effort are science investigations that examine the solid earth cycle and the natural hazards that are an inevitable result of that cycle. For volcanologists, the new higher spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution EOS data have spawned a variety of new algorithms and methodologies to monitor changes in volcanic activity, map volcanic surfaces, and investigate volcanic processes. Thermal anomaly detection, plume chemistry and mass flux, lava composition and textural properties, interaction of ash with the natural and human environment, and mitigation of hazards are but a few of the topics being addressed with these data sets. In this paper, we summarize the current state of volcanic remote sensing in the new EOS era and introduce the more detailed papers that follow in this special issue. This work stems from a special session at the Fall 2001 American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting that was convened to showcase the current research in volcanic systems and processes using the new EOS satellite data sets. That session was also intended to provide a forum for field, aircraft, and other satellite-validated observations of volcanic edifices and processes. Our aim in this special issue is to focus on a series of detailed examples where the authors have used EOS data to investigate a specific question, rather than a generalized overview of all possible volcanological applications of remote sensing data.

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Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)