Within Latin America, about 319 volcanoes have been active in the Holocene, but 202 of these volcanoes have no seismic, deformation or gas monitoring. Following the 2012 Santorini Report on satellite Earth Observation and Geohazards, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) developed a 4-year pilot project (2013-2017) to demonstrate how satellite observations can be used to monitor large numbers of volcanoes cost-effectively, particularly in areas with scarce instrumentation and/or difficult access. The pilot aims to improve disaster risk management (DRM) by working directly with the volcano observatories that are governmentally responsible for volcano monitoring as well as with the international space agencies (ESA, CSA, ASI, DLR, JAXA, NASA, CNES). The goal is to make sure that the most useful data are collected at each volcano following the guidelines of the Santorini report that observation frequency is related to volcano activity, and to communicate the results to the local institutions in a timely fashion. Here we highlight how coordinated multi-satellite observations have been used by volcano observatories to monitor volcanoes and respond to crises. Our primary tool is measurements of ground deformation made by Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), which have been used in conjunction with other observations to determine the alert level at these volcanoes, served as an independent check on ground sensors, guided the deployment of ground instruments, and aided situational awareness. During this time period, we find 26 volcanoes deforming, including 18 of the 28 volcanoes that erupted – those eruptions without deformation were less than 2 on the VEI scale. Another 7 volcanoes were restless and the volcano observatories requested satellite observations, but no deformation was detected. We describe the lessons learned about the data products and information that are most needed by the volcano observatories in the different countries using information collected by questionnaires. We propose a practical strategy for regional to global satellite volcano monitoring for use by volcano observatories in Latin America and elsewhere to realize the vision of the Santorini report.
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