Spatio-temporal surface temperature variations detected by satellite thermal infrared images at Merapi volcano, Indonesia

Hai Po Chan, Kostas I. Konstantinou, Matthew Blackett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Merapi volcano is located in central Java and is the most active volcano in Indonesia. Many thousands live on the volcano's flanks which itself is 28 km (17 mi) north of Yogyakarta and its 2.4 million inhabitants. Given this population at risk, and a history of 73 recorded eruptions in the past 500 years, the hazards posed by Merapi are worthy of study. Merapi is monitored by networks of on-site seismology, deformation, and gas emission instruments and, like all volcanoes globally, is also routinely observed by satellite remote sensors. Here, we conduct a temporal and spatial time series analysis of land surface temperature (LST) observations of Merapi, as derived from MODIS (1 km spatial resolution), ASTER (90 m) and Landsat (30 m) thermal infrared imagery. The time series derived from MODIS is decomposed with the Seasonal Trend Decomposition using a Loess (STL) technique and this reveals thermal anomaly peaks caused by the eruptions and a subtle rising tendency in LST since the launch of MODIS in 2000. ASTER surface temperature time series is used for the cross validation of the MODIS LST time series and again, demonstrates thermal anomaly peaks and a longer term upward trend. For a detailed delineation of thermal features at Merapi, the 30 m pixel Landsat thermal imagery derived brightness temperature (BT) distribution during the period from 1988 to 2019 is presented. Finally, change detections (i.e., pixel-by-pixel comparison) of BT distribution from 1988 to 2019 are performed to inspect the spatial temperature variations of Merapi volcano. Positive thermal anomaly areas are identified and these correspond to local heat sources revealed by seismic imaging and resistivity tomography. In summary, the satellite remote sensing approach provides insights into thermal features at a higher spatial and temporal scale than has been conducted in the past and these observations complement ongoing ground-based measurements. The results of this study will feed into both an enhanced understanding of Merapi's thermally anomalous subsurface structures and facilitation of volcano monitoring and hazard assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107405
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Land surface temperature (LST)
  • Landsat
  • Merapi volcano
  • Seasonal and Trend decomposition using LOESS (STL)


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatio-temporal surface temperature variations detected by satellite thermal infrared images at Merapi volcano, Indonesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this