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A technique for detecting burn scars using MODIS data

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5 Author(s)
Rong-Rong Li ; Goddard Earth Sci. & Technol. Center, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland Univ., Baltimore, MD, USA ; Y. J. Kaufman ; Wei Min Hao ; J. M. Salmon
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The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments onboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Terra and Aqua spacecrafts have several visible and near-infrared (NIR) channels with resolutions of 250, 500, and 1 km for remote sensing of land surfaces and atmosphere. The MODIS data directly broadcasted to ground receiving stations can have many practical applications, including the rapid assessment of fires and burned areas. In this paper, we describe an empirical technique for remote sensing of burn scars using a single dataset of MODIS NIR channels centered near 1.24 and 2.13 μm. These channels are sensitive to changes in the surface properties induced by the fire and are not obscured by smoke. Therefore, they allow remote sensing of burn scars in the presence of smoke. Detection of burn scars from single MODIS images, without the need of data from previous days, is very useful for near real-time burn scar recognition in operational direct broadcasting systems. The technique is applied to MODIS data acquired over the western U.S. during the summer fire season, the southeastern part of Canada during the summer and spring seasons, and the southeastern part of Australia. The burnt areas estimated from MODIS data are consistent with those estimated from the high spatial resolution Landsat 7 imaging data.

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IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 6 )