Changes in surface albedo after fire in boreal forest ecosystems of interior Alaska assessed using MODIS satellite observations
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): E. A. Lyons; Y. F. Jin; J. T. Randerson
Publication Year: 2008

Cataloging Information

  • albedo
  • boreal forests
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire management
  • fire scar analysis
  • forest management
  • light
  • post fire recovery
  • radiation
  • remote sensing
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 52678
Tall Timbers Record Number: 29843
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


We assessed the multidecadal effects of boreal forest fire on surface albedo using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite observations within the perimeters of burn scars in interior Alaska. Fire caused albedo to increase during periods with and without snow cover. Albedo during early spring had a mean of 0.50 ± 0.03 for the first three decades after fire, substantially higher than that observed in evergreen conifer forests (0.34 ± 0.04). In older stands between 30 and 55 years, albedo showed a decreasing trend during early spring, probably from a growing spruce understory that masked surface snow and caused increases in both simple ratio (SR) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI). During summer, albedo decreased by 0.012 ± 0.005 in the year immediately after fire (from 0.112 ± 0.005 to 0.100 ± 0.010). In subsequent years, summer albedo increased rapidly at first and then more gradually, reaching a broad maximum in 20 - 35 year stands (0.135 ± 0.006). These measurements provide evidence for a well-developed deciduous shrub and tree phase during intermediate stages of succession. Averaged over the first 5 decades, shortwave surface forcing from fires was -6.2 W m-2 relative to an evergreen conifer control and -3.0 W m-2 relative to a control constructed from 2000 to 2003 preburn observations. These forcing estimates had a magnitude substantially smaller than previous estimates and suggest that, at a regional scale, evergreen conifer stand density may be lower than that inferred from chronosequence studies. © 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

Lyons, E. A., Y. F. Jin, and J. T. Randerson. 2008. Changes in surface albedo after fire in boreal forest ecosystems of interior Alaska assessed using MODIS satellite observations. JGR.Biogeosciences, v. 113, no. G2, p. G02012 [article no. online]-15 pp [total pages online]. 10.1029/2007JG000606.