5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 4:30 PM
Assessing Impacts of Scaling on Burn Severity Mapping and Derived Fire Effects
Zhiliang Zhu, USGS, Sioux Falls, SD
In recent years, requirements for consistent and operational burn mapping, using remote sensing means, have been mostly designed to provide support to land management in the field. However, this has ignored a perhaps more appropriate area of application in assessment and monitoring of fire effects over time for erosion/runoff, biomass and carbon issues, invasive species and other science issues using mapped burn severity. Research in this area provides critical insight for understanding relationships between fire and land cover/use change and climate change. In this paper, a research effort is described to investigate effects of scaling (i.e. different satellite sensors and pixel dimensions) on characteristics of mapped burn severity, including area statistics by level of severity and correlation of mapped severity with field truth. The hypothesis of the research is that coarse resolution satellite data, such as those 1km satellite pixels from Moderate Resolution Image Spectrometer (MODIS), overestimate burn severity and, as the result, overestimate derived fire effects such as carbon emission from the fire. Research results using 2002 fires in temperate and boreal ecosystems will be presented and calibration for coarse resolution fire effects will be suggested.

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