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Wilfrid Schroeder, Jeffrey T. Morisette, Ivan Csiszar, Louis Giglio, Douglas Morton, and Christopher O. Justice

Abstract

Correctly characterizing the frequency and distribution of fire occurrence is essential for understanding the environmental impacts of biomass burning. Satellite fire detection is analyzed from two sensors—the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on NOAA-12 and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on both the Terra and Aqua platforms, for 2001–03—to characterize fire activity in Brazil, giving special emphasis to the Amazon region. In evaluating the daily fire counts, their dependence on variations in satellite viewing geometry, overpass time, atmospheric conditions, and fire characteristics were considered. Fire counts were assessed for major biomes of Brazil, the nine states of the Legal Amazon, and two important road corridors in the Amazon region. All three datasets provide consistent information on the timing of peak fire activity for a given state. Also, ranking by relative fire counts per unit area highlights the importance of fire in smaller biomes such as Complexo do Pantanal. The local analysis of road corridors shows trends for fire detections with the increasing intensity of land use. Although absolute fire counts differ by as much as 1200%, when summarized over space and time, trends in fire counts among the three datasets show clear patterns of fire dynamics. The fire dynamics that are evident in these trend analyses are important foundations for assessing environmental impacts of biomass burning and policy measures to manage fire in Brazil.

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Jeffrey T. Morisette, Louis Giglio, Ivan Csiszar, Alberto Setzer, Wilfrid Schroeder, Douglas Morton, and Christopher O. Justice

Abstract

Fire influences global change and tropical ecosystems through its connection to land-cover dynamics, atmospheric composition, and the global carbon cycle. As such, the climate change community, the Brazilian government, and the Large-Scale Biosphere–Atmosphere (LBA) Experiment in Amazonia are interested in the use of satellites to monitor and quantify fire occurrence throughout Brazil. Because multiple satellites and algorithms are being utilized, it is important to quantify the accuracy of the derived products. In this paper the characteristics of two fire detection algorithms are evaluated, both of which are applied to Terra’s Moderate Resolution Imagine Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data and with both operationally producing publicly available fire locations. The two algorithms are NASA’s operational Earth Observing System (EOS) MODIS fire detection product and Brazil’s Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) algorithm. Both algorithms are compared to fire maps that are derived independently from 30-m spatial resolution Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) imagery. A quantitative comparison is accomplished through logistic regression and error matrices. Results show that the likelihood of MODIS fire detection, for either algorithm, is a function of both the number of ASTER fire pixels within the MODIS pixel as well as the contiguity of those pixels. Both algorithms have similar omission errors and each has a fairly high likelihood of detecting relatively small fires, as observed in the ASTER data. However, INPE’s commission error is roughly 3 times more than that of the EOS algorithm.

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Piers J. Sellers, Compton J. Tucker, G. James Collatz, Sietse O. Los, Christopher O. Justice, Donald A. Dazlich, and David A. Randall

Abstract

The global parameter fields used in the revised Simple Biosphere Model (SiB2) of Sellers et al. are reviewed. The most important innovation over the earlier SiB1 parameter set of Dorman and Sellers is the use of satellite data to specify the time-varying phonological properties of FPAR, leaf area index. and canopy greenness fraction. This was done by processing a monthly 1° by 1° normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) dataset obtained farm Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer red and near-infrared data. Corrections were applied to the source NDVI dataset to account for (i) obvious anomalies in the data time series, (ii) the effect of variations in solar zenith angle, (iii) data dropouts in cold regions where a temperature threshold procedure designed to screen for clouds also eliminated cold land surface points, and (iv) persistent cloud cover in the Tropics. An outline of the procedures for calculating the land surface parameters from the corrected NDVI dataset is given, and a brief description is provided of source material, mainly derived from in situ observations, that was used in addition to the NDVI data. The datasets summarized in this paper should he superior to prescriptions currently used in most land surface parameterizations in that the spatial and temporal dynamics of key land surface parameters, in particular those related to vegetation, are obtained directly from a consistent set of global-scale observations instead of being inferred from a variety of survey-based land-cover classifications.

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