Volcanology 2020: How will thermal remote sensing of volcanic surface activity...

Ramsey, M., and A. J. L. Harris (2013), Volcanology 2020: How will thermal remote sensing of volcanic surface activity evolve over the next decade?, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 249, 217-233, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.05.011.

Volcanological remote sensing spans numerous techniques, wavelength regions, data collection strategies, targets, and applications. Attempting to foresee and predict the growth vectors in this broad and rapidly developing field is therefore exceedingly difficult.However,we attempted to make such predictions at both the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting session entitled Volcanology 2010: How will the science and practice of volcanology change in the coming decade? held in December 2000 and the follow-up session 10 years later, Looking backward and forward: Volcanology in 2010 and 2020. In this summary paper, we assess how well we did with our predictions for specific facets of volcano remote sensing in 2000 the advances made over the most recent decade, and attempt a new look ahead to the next decade. In completing this review, we only consider the subset of the field focused on thermal infrared remote sensing of surface activity using ground-based and space-based technology and the subsequent research results. This review keeps to the original scope of both AGU presentations, and therefore does not address the entire field of volcanological remote sensing, which uses technologies in other wavelength regions (e.g., ultraviolet, radar, etc.) or the study of volcanic processes other than the those associated with surface (mostly effusive) activity. Therefore we do not consider remote sensing of ash/gas plumes, for example. In 2000, we had looked forward to a “golden age” in volcanological remote sensing, with a variety of new orbital missions both planned and recently launched. In addition, exciting field-based sensors such as hand-held thermal cameraswere also becoming available and being quickly adopted by volcanologists for both monitoring and research applications. All of our predictions in 2000 came true, but at a pace far quicker than we predicted. Relative to the 2000–2010 timeframe, the coming decade will see far fewer new orbital instruments with direct applications to volcanology. However ground-based technologies and applications will continue to proliferate, and unforeseen technology promises many exciting possibilities that will advance volcano thermal monitoring and science far beyond what we can currently envision.

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Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)