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 Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>