An intercomparison of Satellite Burned Area Maps derived from MODIS, MERIS, SPOT-VEGETATION, and ATSR images. An application to the August 2006 Galicia (Spain) forest fires

M. Huesca, S. Merino de Miguel, F. González-Alonso


Aim of study: The following paper presents an inter-comparison of three global products: MCD45A1 (MODIS - MODerate resolution Imaging Spectrometer - Burned Area Product), L3JRC (Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Global Burnt Area Product), and GLOBCARBON Burnt Area Estimate (BAE) Product; and three local products, two of them based on MODIS data and the other one based on MERIS (MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) data.

Area of study: The study was applied to the Galician forest fires occurred in 2006.

Materials and Methods: Materials used involved the three already mentioned global products together with two MODIS and one MERIS reflectance images, and MODIS thermal anomalies. The algorithm we used, which is based on the determination of thresholds values on infrared bands, allowed the identification of burned pixels. The determination of such threshold values was based on the maximum spatial correlation between MODIS thermal anomalies, and infrared reflectance values. This methodology was applied to MODIS and MERIS reflectance bands, and to the NBR (Normalized Burn Ratio). Burned area validation was evaluated using burned area polygons as derived from an AWiFS (Advanced Wide Field Sensor) image of 60m pixel size.

Main results: Best results were reached when using the MERIS infrared bands, followed by the MODIS infrared bands. Worst results were reached when using the MCD45A1 product, which clearly overestimated; and when using the L3JRC product, which clearly underestimated.

Research highlights: Since the efficiency of the performance of the available burned area products is highly variable, much work is needed in terms of comparison among the available sensors, the burned area mapping algorithms and the resulting products.


Abbreviations used: ATSR: Along Scanning Radiometer; AVHRR: Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer; AWiFS: Advanced Wide Field Sensor; EOS: Earth Observation System; ESA: European Space Agency; GBA2000: Global Burnt Area 2000; GLOBCARBON-BAE: GLOBCARBON Burnt Area Estimate Product; L3JRC: Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Global Burnt Area Product; MCD45A1: MODIS Burned Area Product; MERIS: MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer; MOD09GA: Terra MODIS Surface Reflectance Daily L2G Global 500 m; MOD09GQ: Terra MODIS Surface Reflectance Daily L2G Global 250 m; MODIS: MODerate resolution Imaging Spectrometer; NBR: Normalized Burn Ratio; NDVI: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index; NIR: near-infrared; SPOT: Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre; SWIR: short-wave infrared; UTM: Universal Transverse Mercator.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013222-03477