Remotely sensed radiation, attractive for its spatial and temporal coverage, offers a means of inferring energy deposition in fires (e.g. on soils, fuels and tree stems) but coordinated remote and in situ (in-flame) measurements are lacking. We relate remotely sensed measurements of fire radiative energy density (FRED) from nadir (overhead) radiometers on towers and the Wildfire Airborne Sensor Program (WASP) infrared camera on a piloted, fixed-wing aircraft to energy incident on in situ, horizontally oriented, wide-angle total flux sensors positioned ~0.5 m above ground level. Measurements were obtained in non-forested herbaceous and shrub-dominated sites and in (forested) longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Miller) savanna. Using log–log scaling to reveal downward bias, incident energy was positively related to FRED from nadir radiometers (R2 = 0.47) and WASP (R2 = 0.50). As a demonstration of how this result could be used to describe ecological effects, we predict stem injury for turkey oak (Quercus laevis Walter), a common tree species at our study site, using incident energy inferred from remotely sensed FRED. On average, larger-diameter stems were expected to be killed in the forested than in the non-forested sites. Though the approach appears promising, challenges remain for remote and in situ measurement.
Dickinson MB, Butler BW, Hudak AT, Bright BC, Kremens RL, and Klauberg C. 2019. Inferring energy incident on sensors in low-intensity surface fires from remotely sensed radiation and using it to predict tree stem injury. International Journal of Wildland Fire 28(3): 230-236. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF18164