Remote Sensing, Vol. 14, Pages 534: Microwave Brightness Temperature (MBT) Background in Bayan Har Block, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Its Importance in Searching for Seismic MBT Anomalies (Remote Sensing)
The abnormal behaviors of microwave brightness temperature (MBT) before and after some strong inland earthquakes have been studied for more than 15 years, but the normal features of MBT background in the investigated regions still lack essential attention. This study focused on the extremely seismically active Bayan Har block on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China, and revealed the spatiotemporal variations of monthly mean background and monthly standard deviation (STD) of MBT by using data of 10.65 and 89 GHz from AMSR-2 instrument. In terms of space, the results revealed that the MBT backgrounds at the two frequencies both basically exhibited a negative correlation with regional altitude but were more pronounce at high frequency. They also showed different response characteristics to the properties of soil and vegetation. In terms of time, the low-frequency background exhibited a complex month-to-month variation, with auxiliary data suggesting a joint contribution of surface soil moisture (SSM) and seasonal temperature; while the high-frequency background presented good agreement only with the variation in surface temperature. Meanwhile, the monthly STD of MBT was discovered being affected by SSM at the low-frequency and by snowfall events at the high-frequency. By employing MBT data of 10.65 GHz from AMSR-E and AMSR-2 sensors, the spatiotemporal evolutions of MBT anomalies before, during and after the Ms 7.1 Yushu earthquake on 13 April 2010 and the Ms 7.4 Maduo earthquake on 21 May 2021 were obtained referring to dynamic monthly mean background. A typical strip-shaped positive MBT anomaly just covering the Bayan Har block was found occurring prior to the two earthquakes, and the time series of average MBT anomaly inside the block was analyzed by using multiple datasets. The typical abnormal MBT strip was discriminated being independent of non-seismic factors and regarded as a possible precursor for both earthquakes. This research uncovered the normal features of MBT background and demonstrated the common characteristics of MBT anomalies preceding two strike-slip earthquakes inside the Bayan Har block. It has instructive significance for studying, understanding and searching for seismic MBT anomalies on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.