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Abstract

To solve the problem of lava dome growth at Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV) being invisible and unmeasured owing to cloud, we have designed, built and deployed a ground-based millimetre-wave radar/radiometer: the All-weather Volcano Topography Imaging Sensor (AVTIS). In this chapter, after an outline technical sketch of the instruments, we describe the campaigns between 2004 and 2011 used to test their capabilities. We then present results from the campaigns to illustrate how signals of volcanological interest can be retrieved. The primary measurements of AVTIS are range (to within, at best, about 1 m), and, from that, topography, topographical change and effusion rates, and surface temperature (to within a few degrees Celsius). Changes in radar reflectivity can indicate surface processes (e.g. mass wasting). Surface motion within the instantaneous field of view produces a Doppler signal that allows detection of rockfall. Attenuation of the signal by rain along the path can, when stacked temporally, give an image of rain cloud structure and, by calibration, a rate of rainfall. We regard a strategy of two radars – one permanantly mounted (at Windy Hill) autonomous instrument, and the other used as a rover – as being best for capturing dome growth.

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