Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spanish forest fire aftermath surveyed by Envisat

05.08.2005


The damage done to Spain’s Guadalajara province by July’s fierce forest fire has been measured from space by Envisat.



The four-day blaze began on 16 July, when a barbecue in pine woodland went out of control, spread by strong winds across a very dry landscape. Eleven volunteer firefighters died tackling the blaze, which at its height threatened to engulf the nearby villages of Selas and Ablanque. Firefighters succeeded in creating a fire-break to stop its spread, backed up by water-bombing aircraft.

As the Spanish authorities assess the fire’s aftermath, a rapid damage estimate has been performed using Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument.


A 24 July MERIS Full Resolution mode image with a spatial resolution of 300 metres was processed to reveal burned areas by a team led by Dr. Federico González-Alonso, head of the Madrid-based Laboratorio de Teledetección (Remote-sensing Laboratory) of the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (National Institute for Agriculture, Food Research and Technology or INIA).

"MERIS measures the solar radiation reflected by the Earth in 15 selectable spectral bands in the visible and near infra-red," explained González-Alonso. "We utilised bands that were particularly sensitive to vegetation, then performed an automatic matched filtering analysis on the stacked bands to designate ’endmembers’ - spectrally pure areas that could be visually classified as very burnt.

"The file obtained was reclassified by modifying the histogram or graphical bar used, so pixels with values over 0.3 were considered burnt. The resulting perimeter gives us a burnt area estimate of 11 313 hectares." This figure compares well to forest fire burnt area estimates from other sources of 12 000 hectares.

"The results of our completed study will be sent to the Spanish Ministry of Environment for economic, social and ecological damage assessment," González-Alonso added. "Our team has been studying the use of MERIS data for fire-damage assessment - the obtaining of images from ESA in near-real time via the internet being an essential point in this kind of application."

"The results achieved so far show that estimates can be extremely useful not only in establishing the scale of the damage but also for the subsequent forest renewal projects and for subsidy management."

The team is also participating in ESA’s Dragon Programme of cooperation with Chinese researchers, using MERIS Full Resolution imagery to map forest fires across China.

González-Alonso explained that MERIS’s visible and infra-red multispectral imaging capability combined with a better spatial resolution than comparable satellite sensors make it especially useful for providing fire-damage information.

MERIS’s capability is being employed in a variety of different projects, including as part of GLOBCARBON, a project to better characterise changes in the amount of land-based carbon on a global basis across ten years from 1997.

Monitoring the location, duration and affected area of forest fires is an important part of GLOBCARBON, since blazes are a major way for carbon to be released from land-based ’sinks’ into the atmosphere. The project, part of ESA’s Data User Element, should improve scientific understanding of the carbon cycle and improve climate change modelling.

MERIS is also being utilised in combination with other satellite sensors for the Risk-EOS initiative, which is rolling out a series of operational services for fire and flood risk management, with burn scar mapping initially being offered within a total area of 180 000 square kilometres across two parts of Europe: Spain’s Castilla y Leon Region and the Éntente area of southern France.

Risk-EOS is taking place as part of the GMES Services Element (GSE), a suite of Earth Observation services being developed as part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) joint endeavour between ESA and the European Commission, aimed at merging ground- and space-based information sources to develop a comprehensive planetary monitoring capability in support of Europe’s environment and security goals.

A follow-on to MERIS is planned as payload for the GMES-1 spacecraft, intended to support operational GMES services into the next decade.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM25M808BE_environment_0.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The disappearance of common species
01.02.2018 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>