The HOTSAT volcano monitoring system based on combined use of SEVIRI and MODIS multispectral data

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Gaetana Ganci
Annamaria Vicari
Luigi Fortuna
Ciro Del Negro


Spaceborne remote sensing of high-temperature volcanic features offers an excellent opportunity to monitor the onset and development of new eruptive activity. To provide a basis for real-time response during eruptive events, we designed and developed the volcano monitoring system that we call HOTSAT. This multiplatform system can elaborate both Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) data, and it is here applied to the monitoring of the Etna volcano. The main advantage of this approach is that the different features of both of these sensors can be used. It can be refreshed every 15 min due to the high frequency of the SEVIRI acquisition, and it can detect smaller and/or less intense thermal anomalies through the MODIS data. The system consists of data preprocessing, detection of volcano hotspots, and radiative power estimation. To locate thermal anomalies, a new contextual algorithm is introduced that takes advantage of both the spectral and spatial comparison methods. The derivation of the radiative power is carried out at all ‘hot’ pixels using the middle infrared radiance technique. The whole processing chain was tested during the 2008 Etna eruption. The results show the robustness of the system after it detected the lava fountain that occurred on May 10 through the SEVIRI data, and the very beginning of the eruption on May 13 through the MODIS data analysis.

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Ganci G, Vicari A, Fortuna L, Del Negro C. The HOTSAT volcano monitoring system based on combined use of SEVIRI and MODIS multispectral data. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2011Dec.16 [cited 2022Oct.5];54(5). Available from:

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