Thermal Remote Sensing for Global Volcano Monitoring: Experiences From the MIROVA System

Diego Coppola, Marco Laiolo, Corrado Cigolini, Francesco Massimetti, Dario Delle Donne, Maurizio Ripepe, Hidran Arias, Sara Barsotti, Claudia Bucarey Parra, Riky Gustavo Centeno, Sandrine Cevuard, Gustavo Chigna, Carla Chun, Esline Garaebiti, Dulce Gonzales, Julie Griswold, Javier Juarez, Luis E. Lara, Cristian Mauricio López, Orlando Efrain Macedo SánchezCelestin Mahinda, Sarah Ogburn, Oktory Prambada, Patricio Ramon, Domingo Ramos, Aline Peltier, Steve Saunders, Elske de Zeeuw-van Dalfsen, Nick Varley, Ricardo William

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Volcanic activity is always accompanied by the transfer of heat from the Earth’s crust to the atmosphere. This heat can be measured from space and its measurement is a very useful tool for detecting volcanic activity on a global scale. MIROVA (Middle Infrared Observation of Volcanic Activity) is an automatic volcano hot spot detection system, based on the analysis of MODIS data (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer). The system is able to detect, locate and quantify thermal anomalies in near real-time, by providing, on a dedicated website (, infrared images and thermal flux time-series on over 200 volcanoes worldwide. Thanks to its simple interface and intuitive representation of the data, MIROVA is currently used by several volcano observatories for daily monitoring activities and reporting. In this paper, we present the architecture of the system and we provide a state of the art on satellite thermal data usage for operational volcano monitoring and research. In particular, we describe the contribution that the thermal data have provided in order to detect volcanic unrest, to forecast eruptions and to depict trends and patterns during eruptive crisis. The current limits and requirements to improve the quality of the data, their distribution and interpretation are also discussed, in the light of the experience gained in recent years within the volcanological community. The results presented clearly demonstrate how the open access of satellite thermal data and the sharing of derived products allow a better understanding of ongoing volcanic phenomena, and therefore constitute an essential requirement for the assessment of volcanic hazards.

Original languageEnglish
Article number362
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has benefited from funding provided by the Italian Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Dipartimento della Protezione Civile (DPC) as part of the DEVnet Program (2014– 2016) that includes a collaborative project between the Earth Sciences departments of the University of Florence and the University of Turin. This research was partially supported by the Italian Ministry for Universities and Research (MIUR).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Coppola, Laiolo, Cigolini, Massimetti, Delle Donne, Ripepe, Arias, Barsotti, Parra, Centeno, Cevuard, Chigna, Chun, Garaebiti, Gonzales, Griswold, Juarez, Lara, López, Macedo, Mahinda, Ogburn, Prambada, Ramon, Ramos, Peltier, Saunders, de Zeeuw-van Dalfsen, Varley and William.


  • eruption forecasting
  • global volcano monitoring
  • thermal remote sensing
  • thermal unrest


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