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The DLR FireBIRD small satellite mission: evaluation of infrared data for wildfire assessment

Author(s): Michael Nolde, Simon Plank, Rudolf Richter, Doris Klein, Torsten Riedlinger
Year Published: 2021
Description:

Wildfires significantly influence ecosystem patterns and processes on a global scale. In many cases, they pose a threat to human lives and property. Through greenhouse gas emissions, wildfires also directly contribute to climate change. The monitoring of such events and the analysis of acquired data is crucial for understanding wildfire and ecosystem interactions. The FireBIRD small satellite mission, operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), was specifically designed for the detection of wildfires. It features a higher spatial resolution than available with other Earth-observation systems. In addition to the detection of active fire locations, the system also allows the derivation of fire intensity by means of the Fire Radiative Power (FRP). This indicator can be used as a basis to derive the amount of emitted pollutant, which makes it valuable for climate studies. With the FireBIRD mission facing its end of life in 2021, this study retrospectively evaluates the performance of the system through an inter-comparison with data from two satellite missions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and discusses the potential of such a system. The comparison is performed regarding both geometrical and radiometric aspects, the latter focusing on the FRP. This study uses and compares two different methods to derive the FRP from FireBIRD data. The data are analyzed regarding six major fire incidents in different regions of the world. The FireBIRD results are in accordance with the reference data, showing a geometrical overlapping rate of 83% and 84% regarding MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) overpasses in close temporal proximity. Furthermore, the results show a positive bias in FRP of about 11% compared to MODIS.

Citation: Nolde, Michael; Plank, Simon; Richter, Rudolf; Klein, Doris; Riedlinger, Torsten. 2021. The DLR FireBIRD small satellite mission: evaluation of infrared data for wildfire assessment. Remote Sensing 13(8):1459. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13081459
Topic(s): Mapping, Pre-fire planning or management
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 23129
FRAMES RCS number: 63472
Record updated: May 11, 2021