The integration of satellite data and modeling represents a step toward the next generation of quantitative hazard assessment in response to effusive volcano eruption onset. Satellite-based thermal remote sensing of hotspots related to effusive activity can effectively provide a variety of products suited to timing, locating, and tracking the radiant character of lava flows. Hotspots show the location and occurrence of eruptive events (vents). Discharge rate estimates may indicate the current intensity (effusion rate) and potential magnitude (volume). High-spatial-resolution multispectral satellite data can complement field observations for monitoring the front position (length) and extension of flows (area). Physics-based models driven, or validated, by satellite-derived parameters are now capable of fast and accurate forecast of lava flow inundation scenarios (hazard). Here, we demonstrate the potential of the integrated application of satellite remote-sensing techniques and lava flow models by using a retrospective analysis of the 2004–2005 effusive eruption at Mount Etna in Italy. The lava flow hazard was assessed by using the HOTSAT volcano hotspot detection system, which works with satellite thermal infrared data, and the MAGFLOW lava flow emplacement model, which is able to relate the flow evolution to eruption conditions at the vent. We used HOTSAT to analyze Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) data to output hotspot location, lava thermal flux, and effusion rate estimation. This output was used to drive the MAGFLOW simulations of lava flow paths and to continuously update flow simulations. We also show how Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper+ (ETM+) and Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) Advanced Land Imager (ALI) images complement the field observations to track the flow front position in time and add valuable data on lava flow advancement with which to validate the numerical simulations. Such integration at last makes timely forecasts of lava flow hazards during effusive crises possible at the great majority of volcanoes for which no monitoring exists.
- Received 9 June 2015.
- Revision received 5 October 2015.
- Accepted 27 October 2015.