The high levels of uncertainty associated with earthquake prediction render earthquakes some of the worst natural calamities. Here, we present our observations of MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-derived Land Surface Temperature (LST) anomaly for earthquakes in the largest tectonically active Himalayan and Andean mountain belts. We report the appearance of fairly detectable pre-earthquake Snow Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies. We use 16 years (2000–2015) of MODIS LST time-series data to robustly conclude our findings for three of the most destructive earthquakes that occurred in 2015 in the high mountains of Nepal, Chile, and Afghanistan. We propose the physical basis behind higher sensitivity of snow towards geothermal emissions. Although the preliminary appearance of SST anomalies and their amplitudes vary, we propose employing a global-scale monitoring system for detecting and studying such spatio-temporal geophysical signals. With the advent of improved remote sensors, we anticipate that such efforts can be another step towards improved earthquake predictions.
We are thankful to the editor Dr. Dorothy K. Hall, Dr. Friedemann Freund, and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive suggestions, which improved the quality of this paper significantly. We also thank the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for providing the MODIS data and products free of cost to the scientific community.
- LST anomaly