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Spaceborne detection and characterization of fires during the bi-spectral infrared detection (BIRD) experimental small satellite mission (2001–2004)

Zhukov, B., Lorenz, E., Oertel, D., Wooster, M. and Roberts, G. (2006) Spaceborne detection and characterization of fires during the bi-spectral infrared detection (BIRD) experimental small satellite mission (2001–2004) Remote Sensing of Environment, 100, (1), pp. 29-51. (doi:10.1016/j.rse.2005.09.019).

Record type: Article


Wildfires have a range of significant environmental effects with respect to both Earth's surface and atmosphere. Spaceborne remote sensing of active fires has been undertaken for more than two decades, but the bi-spectral Infrared Detection (BIRD) Experimental Small Satellite (2001–04) is the first mission dedicated to this task. This paper summarizes the experience gained during the BIRD mission, which has focused both on active fire detection and active fire characterization, in terms of quantifying effective fire temperature (TF), effective fire area (AF) and fire radiative power (FRP). A detailed error analysis for each parameter is undertaken, and the accuracy of FRP retrieval is shown to be significantly better than that of TF or AF. For key fire-affected forest, bush and savanna environments (Australia, Benin, Borneo, Brazil, Canada-US, Portugal and Siberia) BIRD data allows FRP estimation to within 30% in 75% of fires examined, and for the first time from space BIRD is able to allow estimation of fireline length, effective fireline depth and radiative fireline intensity for the more pronounced fire fronts. Some indication of the predominant combustion regime (smoldering or flaming), which has implications for the relative concentrations of emitted pollutant products, is possible through use of the TF parameter. This experience demonstrates the advantages of the new infrared sensor technologies employed in BIRD, and offers suggestions for future fire monitoring sensors based on similar technologies.

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Published date: 15 January 2006
Keywords: satellite fire detection, small satellite mission, bird, quantitative fire characterization, fire radiative power


Local EPrints ID: 188491
ISSN: 0034-4257
PURE UUID: 49d78aa9-9e6c-4a3d-897f-499b741d94f9

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Date deposited: 31 May 2011 15:11
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:42

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Author: B. Zhukov
Author: E. Lorenz
Author: D. Oertel
Author: M. Wooster
Author: G. Roberts

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