Spatial and temporal analysis of satellite derived fire products

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Spatial-temporal analysis of satellite derived fire locations

Smoke from biomass burning is an important component of air quality. Quantifying air pollutant emissions from wildfires and prescribed burning is one of the more uncertain inputs to air quality forecasting. Satellite data are being used to help improve the ability to accurately estimate emissions from fires. However, the quality of satellite dervired fire products for air quality applications is not well characterized:

  • multiple sensors detect fires - which to use?
  • missed detections (cloud cover)
  • false detections
  • spatial resolution limitations
  • temporal resolution limitations
  • size and types of fires detected

Two types of analyses conducted on satellite derived fire locations include:

  • satellite sensor - satellite sensor comparison
  • spatial coincidence of satellite with ground based observations

Soja, et al., 2005:
Describes method used for analysis of fire locations/areas for May-August 2002 in Florida.

Gathering and processing data very labor intensive. A web service based tool for semi-automating this analysis would allow analysis on historical and most recent data wherever and whenever needed (depending only on data availability and quality).

Datasets used: Satellite derived fire locations (from MODIS and GOES)

Fire perimeter data

  • in paper referenced above:
    • State of Florida fire databases
  • other sources
    • NIFC via the ESIP Disaster Management Cluster?


  • Access satellite fire locations
  • Calculate area polygons using buffer analysis
  • Compare spatial and temporal correspondence of satellite polygons
  • Compare overlap of satellite polygons and surface fire perimeters
  • Generate spatial maps, temporal plots, and summary statistic tables

Future extensions:

  • Access to satellite derived burn scar area products
  • New, more temporally resolved land cover products for determining fuel type
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