Ecological - First Order
Smoke & Air Quality
The MODIS instrument on the NASA Terra satellite has been conducting routine global measurements of active fires and aerosol optical depths since late 2000. Currently, it takes more than 4 days to acquire MODIS data from the NASA DAAC Center, making it difficult to use the results to understand air quality and the extent of fire and smoke in real-time. We are currently developing an integrated new method of quantifying in real-time active fires, burn scars, and aerosol optical depths in the United States. We have installed a satellite receiving station in Missoula, Mont., to retrieve MODIS data for the Western U.S. Within two hours after the Terra and Aqua satellite overpass, we will be able to derive the locations of active fires, sizes of burned areas, and fire intensities with a spatial resolution of 1 km x 1 km. We will then calculate emissions rates of trace gases and aerosol particles from biomass burning based on the burned area, the percentage of aboveground biomass burned, combustion efficiency, and the emission factor of each compound. Near real-time emission rates will be used to forecast ozone, particulate and other pollutant concentrations downwind from fires. This new methodology could also be applied in other regions of the world. There are currently 29 receiving stations planning to retrieve MODIS data worldwide. It is feasible to derive a daily global emissions inventory from biomass burning by linking the 29 receiving stations.