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Satellite and Airborne Observations of Fire Characteristics and Smoke Emissions can Illuminate Wildfire Management Strategies

Date: December 17, 2020
Presenter(s): Charles Ichoku

Wildfires and other types of biomass burning are a seasonal phenomenon in different land ecosystems around the world. Such fires are estimated to consume biomass containing a total of 2-5 petagrams of carbon globally every year, generating heat energy and emitting smoke plumes that comprise different species of aerosols and trace gases. These emissions can have adverse effects on air quality and climate. Although less than 5% of global fires occur in North America, recent studies have shown steady and significant increases in burned areas over the last few decades across the continent, especially in the western US.

Detection and characterization of fires and their behavior patterns, energy release, and smoke emission source strengths are essential to adequately constrain our knowledge of biomass burning impacts on society, the environment, and climate. Satellite measurement of fire radiative energy (FRE) release rate or power (FRP) has been found to have a direct relationship with the rates of biomass fuel consumption, plume injection, and emissions of major smoke constituents. Therefore, the ability to characterize fire structure (including flaming, smoldering, and glowing fractions) and quantify their FRP at high resolution from satellite or aircraft can provide the information needed to monitor fire activity and its emission characteristics (plume injection profile and emission rates of different smoke constituents), which are necessary for tactical fire management operations and smoke pollution forecasting. In this presentation, we will show how our research efforts are aiming at illuminating important aspects of wildfire management strategies.

Topic(s): Mapping, Smoke & Air Quality, Smoke Emissions
Ecosystem(s): None
Type: Webinar
NRFSN number: 22475
FRAMES RCS number: 62508
Record updated: Jan 12, 2021