ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat satellites continuously survey fires burning across the Earth’s surface with onboard sensors – the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) and the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) respectively, known as the ATSR Word Fire Atlas, which is available to users online in near-real time.
The ATSR World Fire Atlas is the longest worldwide fire atlas available. Even if the atlas is not supposed to pick up all fires due to satellite overpass constraints and cloud coverage, it is statistically representative from one month to the other and from one year to the other.
Working like thermometers in the sky, the sensors measure thermal infrared radiation to take the temperature of Earth's land surfaces. Temperatures exceeding 308ºK at night are classed as burning fires. Data gathered from July 1996 to 28 August 2007 was used to plot the number of fires occurring monthly and show Greece has had four times the number of fires this August compared to its July and August 1998 records.
Weather conditions, including record summer temperatures and hot dry winds, in 2007 made parts of the Mediterranean – including Greece and southern Italy – a tinderbox, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said.
The ATSR World Fire Atlas provides data approximately six hours after acquisition. All available satellite passes are processed to create the ATSR World Fire Atlas. In addition to maps, the time, date, longitude and latitude of the hot spots are provided. The data are used for research in atmospheric chemistry, land use change, global change ecology, fire prevention and management and meteorology.
Quantifying fires is important for the ongoing study of climate because they have a significant impact on global atmospheric pollution, with biomass burning contributing to the global budgets of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide. The 1998 El Niño, for example, helped encourage fires across Borneo which emitted up to 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, equivalent to Europe's entire carbon emissions that year.
One of the biggest problems during and after fires is obtaining an overall view of the damage and its evolution. With fires visible from space, Earth Observation is also being used to detect and monitor the active spots over affected areas. In October 2000, ESA and the French space agency (CNES) initiated the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, a joint initiative with now ten members, aiming at rapidly tasking Earth Observation satellites and delivering spacemaps to users concerned with emergency response, such as civil protection authorities, anywhere in the world.
Such a capacity can help monitor fire hazard by integrating imagery into geographic information systems used by decision makers and actors in the field. On 29 August, the National Cadastral Organisation of Greece requested support from the International Charter in response to the fire events affecting the country.
Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology