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Sundar A. Christopher, Min Wang, Todd A. Berendes, Ronald M. Welch, and Shi-Keng Yang

Abstract

Using satellite imagery, more than five million square kilometers of the forest and cerrado regions over South America are extensively studied to monitor fires and smoke during the 1985 biomass burning season. The results are characterized for four major ecosystems, namely, 1) tropical rain forest, 2) tropical broadleaf seasonal, 3) savanna/grass and seasonal woods (SGW), and 4) mild/warm/hot grass/shrub (MGS). The spatial and temporal distribution of fires are examined from two different methods using the multispectral Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Local Area Coverage data. Using collocated measurements from the instantaneous scanner Earth Radiation Budget Experiment data, the direct regional radiative forcing of biomass burning aerosols is computed. The results show that more than 70% of the fires occur in the MGS and SGW ecosystems due to agricultural practices. The smoke generated from biomass burning has negative instantaneous net radiative forcing values for all four major ecosystems within South America. The smoke found directly over the fires has mean net radiative forcing values ranging from −25.6 to −33.9 W m−2. These results confirm that the regional net radiative impact of biomass burning is one of cooling. The spectral and broadband properties for clear-sky and smoke regions are also presented that could be used as input and/or validation for other studies attempting to model the impact of aerosols on the earth–atmosphere system.

These results have important applications for future instruments from the Earth Observing System (EOS) program. Specifically, the combination of the Visible Infrared Scanner and Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and the combination of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and CERES instruments from the EOS morning crossing mission could provide reliable estimates of the direct radiative forcing of aerosols on a global scale, thereby reducing the uncertainties in current global aerosol radiative forcing values.

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John R. Mecikalski, Wayne F. Feltz, John J. Murray, David B. Johnson, Kristopher M. Bedka, Sarah T. Bedka, Anthony J. Wimmers, Michael Pavolonis, Todd A. Berendes, Julie Haggerty, Pat Minnis, Ben Bernstein, and Earle Williams

Advanced Satellite Aviation Weather Products (ASAP) was jointly initiated by the NASA Applied Sciences Program and the NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program in 2002. The initiative provides a valuable bridge for transitioning new and existing satellite information and products into Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) efforts to increase the safety and efficiency of project addresses hazards such as convective weather, turbulence (clear air and cloud induced), icing, and volcanic ash, and is particularly applicable in extending the monitoring of weather over data-sparse areas, such as the oceans and other observationally remote locations.

ASAP research is conducted by scientists from NASA, the FAA AWRP's Product Development Teams (PDT), NOAA, and the academic research community. In this paper we provide a summary of activities since the inception of ASAP that emphasize the use of current-generation satellite technologies toward observing and mitigating specified aviation hazards. A brief overview of future ASAP goals is also provided in light of the next generation of satellite sensors (e.g., hyperspectral; high spatial resolution) to become operational in the 2007–18 time frame.

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