AVTIS began in 2004 as a development project that would present a strong solution to one of the major problems of volcanic studies. AVTIS began as a radarometer which would allow for topographic and thermal images to be taken of active volcanoes. The main feature of AVTIS is that by utulising the mm-wave part of the spectrum these images can be built up during adverse weather conditions, which often plagues the visiblity of volcanoes.

The AVTIS project has since moved on, and is currently going through upgrades, including development of new software and hardware. The new project is currently split into two main areas, which focus on two new approaches: AVTIS 2 – a new development based on AVTIS 1 which will incorporate high spatial resolution, with additional signal processing techniques not currently available; and AVTIS 3 – a fully autonomous system which will be permenantly based near the Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat, that will monitor activity continously all year round.

Both systems will incorporate and improve on the current ‘standard’ of AVTIS 1, with improved system noise, allowing for longer distance measurements. Both will also feature new measurement modes, which will offer new information about the volcanic enviroment. The first is a rain measurement mode that will allow for the characterisation of the extent of rain located around the volcano, allowing for correlation between rain and volcanic activity. The second is a Doppler measurement mode which will allow for the direct mapping of rockfall activity on the dome surface, indicating the location and strenth of returns from falling block of lava.

Combined with the solid foundation set by AVTIS 1, the new instruments AVTIS 2 and 3 will provide deeper insight into the understanding of volcanic behaviour, which will hopefully lead to better warning systems and hazard control methods.

AVTIS 2/3 is still in development stages and as the project devlops, important results will also be uploaded to our site. So keep checking back for new stuff.