Monitoring Heat Losses Using Landsat ETM + Thermal Infrared Data: A Case Study in Unzen Geothermal Field, Kyushu, Japan

Md Bodruddoza Mia, Chris J. Bromley, Yasuhiro Fujimitsu

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The Unzen geothermal field, our study area, is situated in the Shimabara Peninsula of Kyushu Island in Japan and is an area of active fumaroles. Our prime objectives were (1) to estimate radiative heat flux (RHF), (2) to calculate approximately the heat discharge rate (HDR) using the relationship of RHF with the total heat loss derived from two geothermal field studies, and (3) finally, to monitor RHF as well as HDR in our study area using seven sets of Landsat 7 ETM + images from 2000 to 2009. We used the normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) method for spectral emissivity estimation, the mono-window algorithm for land surface temperature (LST), and the Stefan-Boltzmann equation analyzing those satellite TIR images for RHF. We estimated that the maximum RHF was about 251 W/m2 in 2005 and minimum was about 27 W/m2 in 2001. The highest total RHF was about 39.1 MW in 2005 and lowest was about 12 MW in 2001 in our study region. We discovered that the estimated RHF was about 15.7 % of HDR from our studies. We applied this percentage to estimate HDR in Unzen geothermal area. The monitoring results showed a single fold trend of HDR from 2000 to 2009 with highest about 252 MW in 2005 and lowest about 78 MW in 2001. In conclusion, TIR remote sensing is thought as the best option for monitoring heat losses from fumaroles with high efficiency and low cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2263-2271
Number of pages9
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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