Assessing two large area burnt area products across Australian southern forests
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Mariela Soto-Berelov; Simon D. Jones; Elizabeth Clarke; Shanti Reddy; Vaibhav Gupta; Maria Luisa Cardoso Felipe
Publication Year: 2018

Cataloging Information

  • Australia
  • AVHRR - Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer
  • burnt area
  • greenhouse gases
  • MODIS - Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
  • remote sensing
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 18, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 55876


Burnt area is a critical parameter for estimating emissions of greenhouse gases associated with biomass burning. Several burnt area products (BAPs) derived from Earth Observation satellites/sensors have been released; these are based on different spatial resolutions and derived using different methodologies so that accuracies can vary amongst them. This study validates a global (MODIS) and a national (AVHRR) BAP across Australian southern forests using two reference datasets: state fire histories (SFHs) from 2000 to 2013 and a forest cover map derived through high resolution air photo interpretation (API). The spatial and temporal agreement between fires in the BAPs and reference SFH were analysed based on 2610 sample points representative of Australian southern forest types (successful detection was evaluated according to fire type: planned burn vs. wildfire, size of fire, and land tenure). Results show that both BAPs were most successful when identifying large wildfires (>5000 ha). Overall accuracy for AVHRR and MODIS was 73.9% and 62.5%, respectively. When compared to the API derived forest cover map as reference dataset, both products achieved higher overall accuracies (94.1% for AVHRR and 87.1% for MODIS); an expected result given that the fires detected in this dataset are known to be observable using Earth observation data. But regardless of reference dataset, the AVHRR BAP which is tailored to Australian conditions achieved better results than the MODIS global BAP. Also, the AVHRR archive in Australia goes back to 1988, which is an important consideration for calculating wildfire history for greenhouse gas accounting.

Online Link(s):
Soto-Berelov, Mariela; Jones, Simon D.; Clarke, Elizabeth; Reddy, Shanti; Gupta, Vaibhav; Gupta; Cardoso Felipe, Maria Luisa. 2018. Assessing two large area burnt area products across Australian southern forests. International Journal of Remote Sensing 39(3):879-905.