Surface latent heat flux as an earthquake precursor
Abstract. The analysis of surface latent heat flux (SLHF) from the epicentral regions of five recent earthquakes that occurred in close proximity to the oceans has been found to show anomalous behavior. The maximum increase of SLHF is found 2–7 days prior to the main earthquake event. This increase is likely due to an ocean-land-atmosphere interaction. The increase of SLHF prior to the main earthquake event is attributed to the increase in infrared thermal (IR) temperature in the epicentral and surrounding region. The anomalous increase in SLHF shows great potential in providing early warning of a disastrous earthquake, provided that there is a better understanding of the background noise due to the tides and monsoon in surface latent heat flux. Efforts have been made to understand the level of background noise in the epicentral regions of the five earthquakes considered in the present paper. A comparison of SLHF from the epicentral regions over the coastal earthquakes and the earthquakes that occurred far away from the coast has been made and it has been found that the anomalous behavior of SLHF prior to the main earthquake event is only associated with the coastal earthquakes.