Time series analysis of land surface temperatures in 20 earthquake cases worldwide

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Earthquakes are reported to be preceded by anomalous increases in satellite-recorded thermal emissions, but published results are often contradicting and/or limited to short periods and areas around the earthquake. We apply a methodology that allows to detect subtle, localized spatio-temporal fluctuations in hyper-temporal, geostationary-based land surface temperature (LST) data. We study 10 areas worldwide, covering 20 large (Mw > 5.5) and shallow (< 35 km) land-based earthquakes. We compare years and locations with and without earthquake, and we statistically evaluate our findings with respect to distance from epicentra and temporal coincidence with earthquakes. We detect anomalies throughout the duration of all datasets, at various distances from the earthquake, and in years with and without earthquake alike. We find no distinct repeated patterns in the case of earthquakes that happen in the same region in different years. We conclude that earthquakes do not have a significant effect on detected LST anomalies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Number of pages25
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Earthquake precursors
  • Land surface temperatures
  • Thermal anomalies


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