Articles | Volume 13, issue 4
Research article
24 Apr 2013
Research article |  | 24 Apr 2013

Thermal infrared brightness temperature anomalies associated with the Yushu (China) Ms = 7.1 earthquake on 14 April 2010

T. Xie, C. L. Kang, and W. Y. Ma

Abstract. The paper presents a wavelet transform method to identify possible seismic brightness temperature anomalies that might be associated with the Yushu (Ms = 7.1) earthquake that occurred in Qinghai province of China on 14 April 2010. Daily infrared data from the Chinese geostationary meteorological satellite FY-2E were used for the period from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011 and the spatial region 28.1–38.1° N by 91.7–101.7° E. We find that the wavelet transform is an effective method to analyse time series which contain nonstationary power, and identify here anomalous power both in the time and frequency domain. The results show that, over the two years, the relative wavelet power spectrum (RWPS) showed anomalous RWPS variations in nine cases: two of these were followed by earthquakes; seven were not. One of the two RWPS anomalies that were followed by an earthquake was in the southern area of the epicentre of the Yushu earthquake, with the RWPS anomaly starting to appear around 29 March 2010, decreasing in the period before the earthquake, and completely gone by 14 April 2010. The Yushu earthquake was the only strong earthquake within the region and two-year time period chosen, so the abnormal change of RWPS during this time period was possibly associated with the Yushu earthquake.