The Impact of Dynamic Emissivity−Temperature Trends on Spaceborne Data: Applications to the 2001 Mount Etna Eruption

Rogic, Nikola; Bilotta, Giuseppe; Ganci, Gaetana; Thompson, James O.; Cappello, Annalisa; Rymer, Hazel; Ramsey, Michael S. and Ferrucci, Fabrizio (2022). The Impact of Dynamic Emissivity−Temperature Trends on Spaceborne Data: Applications to the 2001 Mount Etna Eruption. Remote Sensing, 14(7), article no. e1641.



Spaceborne detection and measurements of high-temperature thermal anomalies enable monitoring and forecasts of lava flow propagation. The accuracy of such thermal estimates relies on the knowledge of input parameters, such as emissivity, which notably affects computation of temperature, radiant heat flux, and subsequent analyses (e.g., effusion rate and lava flow distance to run) that rely on the accuracy of observations. To address the deficit of field and laboratory-based emissivity data for inverse and forward modelling, we measured the emissivity of ‘a’a lava samples from the 2001 Mt. Etna eruption, over the wide range of temperatures (773 to 1373 K) and wavelengths (2.17 to 21.0 µm). The results show that emissivity is not only wavelength dependent, but it also increases non-linearly with cooling, revealing considerably lower values than those typically assumed for basalts. This new evidence showed the largest and smallest increase in average emissivity during cooling in the MIR and TIR regions (~30% and ~8% respectively), whereas the shorter wavelengths of the SWIR region showed a moderate increase (~15%). These results applied to spaceborne data confirm that the variable emissivity-derived radiant heat flux is greater than the constant emissivity assumption. For the differences between the radiant heat flux in the case of variable and constant emissivity, we found the median value is 0.06, whereas the 25th and the 75th percentiles are 0.014 and 0.161, respectively. This new evidence has significant impacts on the modelling of lava flow simulations, causing a dissimilarity between the two emissivity approaches of ~16% in the final area and ~7% in the maximum thickness. The multicomponent emissivity input provides means for ‘best practice’ scenario when accurate data required. The novel approach developed here can be used to test an improved version of existing multi-platform, multi-payload volcano monitoring systems.

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