LC-23  Abstract

Quantifying the Accuracy MODIS Fire Products and Establishing Their Relationship with Land Cover Dynamics

Jeffrey Thomas Morisette, NASA (US-PI)
Joao Antonio Raposo Pereira, MMA-IBAMA (SA-PI)
Wilfrid Schroeder, IBAMA (SA-PI)

Why is it important to monitor fires in the Amazon?  The role of fires in tropical ecosystems has been established (Goldammer, 1990).  Throughout the 80s and early 90s, constantly increasing human forcing and climate anomalies made forest fires in the Amazon Basin a major environmental issue.  Federal efforts have been directed at early detection and management of uncontrolled wildfires (Pereira et al., 1999) and fires play a role in the regional carbon cycle (Potter et al., 2001).  However, not all fires are equal.  Some fires result in a major conversion of the landscape.  While in other locations, fires are necessary to maintain the landscape (Eva and Lambin, 2000).  As land management and carbon science efforts continue to expand, it will be important to “filter” fire maps to differentiate between conversion and maintenance fires.  To develop such a filter, research is needed on the relationship between land cover and fire data.  Due to the large extent of the LBA region and the current use of remote sensing for regional fire monitoring (Pereira et al., 1999), this research needs to be based on land cover and fire products derived from satellite data available throughout the region. 

Existing work on fire and land cover maps indicates there is a relationship between fire occurrence and land cover dynamics, but the form of that relationship depends on the initial and subsequent land cover.  However, there were areas for improvement in the data quality cited in that work (Eva and Lambin, 2000).  To address these shortfalls we propose to investigate the relationship between land cover and fire maps within the context of validation of new MODIS fire products.  This will allow us to leverage off existing equipment and infrastructure within the region and take advantage of the new capabilities offered by MODIS.  With this, we focus on two separate, complementary, components: 

1-     Quantifying the uncertainly in satellite derived fire and burn scar products, concentrating primarily on new MODIS fire products and

2-     Establish techniques to distinguish between fires that cause land-cover change and fires that maintain a state of equilibrium

The first component will provide validated products to quantify the extent and timing of burning in the Amazon.  NASA has an interest in having its latest tools and data products utilized to the furthest extent possible.  By teaming with the IBAMA, the Brazilian agency responsible for national fire monitoring, the proposed effort will help integrate new MODIS fire products into the region and help establish the use of these products into the operational fire monitoring and managemnent of IBAMA.  The geolocation accuracy (~50m) and multiple overpasses (4 per day with Aqua and Terra) imply fire products from MODIS offer enhanced locational accuracy and the ability to capture diurnal characteristics.  However, before these products are put into operational use, they will need to be validated in a rigorous way; where uncertainties in the product are quantified.  The first component of our effort will meet this need.

The second component will address the management and carbon cycle question on the interaction between fire and land cover dynamics.  Using the validated products from the first component, we will build on the integrative nature of the LBA program by coupling IBAMA’s fire products with existing and forthcoming land cover maps developed by the LBA program.  By coupling the best available regional fire products with the latest land cover maps the second component will determine fire’s influence in answering the questions posed in the LBA solicitation.

§         How are global ecosystems changing?  (V3)

§         What changes are occurring in global land cover and land use, and what are their causes?  (F2)

§         What are the consequences of land cover and land use change for the sustainability of ecosystems and economic productivity?  (C2)

Overall scientific and technical expertise will be realized by the collaboration between IBAMA and the MODIS fire product team.  IBAMA is responsible for operational fire monitoring in Brazil.  To date IBAMA has used AVHRR and GOES data and is now interested in using MODIS data.  The investigators on this proposal have extensive experience with MODIS data and the validation of MODIS products.  We are also involved with international fire monitoring efforts that will help place this work within the context of the Global Observation of Forest Cover (GOFC) program and the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS) Land Product Validation (LPV) subgroup.

The proposed plan includes unique and innovative methods by coupling coincident MODIS and ASTER data with airborne campaigns.  The soundness, logic, and practicality of the proposed techniques have been demonstrated through pilot work in Southern Africa (Justice et al., in press) and existing research (Eva and Lambin, 2000).  Leveraging off existing IBAMA, the MODIS-Fire team, GOFC, and CEOS creates a high likelihood of achieving the objectives. The proposal utilizes existing equipment, infrastructure, data sets, and analytical tools.  The proposed work will integrate with the LBA program by providing validated fire and burn scar maps to the LBA team.  We will look to existing and proposed work to provide high-resolution land cover products (namely, work of Skole et al, LBA team “LC-10”); which will augment the land cover maps available from MODIS.

The training and education component includes annual workshops in Brazil on the use of remote sensing for fire and burnt area monitoring and management.  In addition, the proposal requests funding for in-region graduate student (or students). 

Abstract Bibliography:

Eva, H. and Lambin, E.F., 2000, “Fires and Land-cover change in the tropics: a remote sensing analysis at the landscape scale”, Journal of Biogeography, 27, 765-776.

Justice, C. O., Giglio, L., Korontzi, S., Owens, J., Morisette, J. T., Roy,D., Descloitres, J., Alleaume, S., Petitcolin, F., & Kaufman, Y., 2002, “The MODIS Fire Products. Remote Sensing of Environment, 83 244–262.

Goldammer, J.G, 1990, Fire the Tropical Biota, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 497 p.

Pereira, J. M. C., S. Flasse, A. Hoffman, J. A. R. Pereira,  F. González-Alonso, S. Trigg, 1999, Operational use of Remote Sensing for Fire Monitoring and Management: Regional Case Studies. In Forest Fire Monitoring and Mapping: A Component of Global Observation of Forest Cover - Report of a Workshop (F. Ahern, J.-M. Grégoire, eds.), November, Ispra-Italy, 98-110.

Potter, C., Klooster, S., Reis de Carvalho, C., Genovese, V.B, Torregrosa, A., Dungan, JU., Bob, M. and Coughlan, J., “Modeling seasonal and interannual variability in ecosystem carbon cycling for the Brazilian Amazon region”, J. of Geophysical Research, 106(D10) 10,423-10,446.