Anomalous increase of chlorophyll concentrations associated with earthquakes

Ramesh P. Singh, Sagnik Dey, Sanjeeb Bhoi, Donglian Sun, Guido Cervone, Menas Kafatos

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32 Scopus citations


Recent studies have shown land, ocean, atmosphere and ionospheric anomalies prior to earthquakes. The optical and microwave sensors onboard satellites are now capable of monitoring land, ocean, atmosphere and ionosphere which provide changes associated with natural hazards. In this paper, we have analyzed remote sensing data of the ocean coasts lying near the epicenters of recent four major earthquakes (Gujarat of January 26, 2001, Andaman of September 13, 2002, Algeria of May 21, 2002 and Bam, Iran earthquake of December 26, 2003), our detailed analysis shows increase of Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration associated with these recent earthquakes. The increase of Chl-a concentration is due to the change in sea surface temperature (SST) associated with the changes in stress regime in the epicentral region which is responsible for modifying the in situ thermal structure of the water and enhancing the upwelling of nutrient-rich water. The increase of Chl-a concentration also shows one to one relation with the increase of surface latent heat flux (SLHF) which is found to increase significantly prior to the earthquake events. Due to cloud cover, it has not been possible to quantify the effect of the chlorophyll concentrations associated with the earthquake events for each successive day during an event. However, the limited data from the adjacent oceanic regions provide strong evidence of the increase in Chl-a concentration. The monitoring of chlorophyll concentrations with higher spatial and temporal resolutions may provide early information about impending coastal earthquakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-680
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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