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The DLR FireBIRD Small Satellite Mission: Evaluation of Infrared Data for Wildfire Assessment

Nolde, Michael and Plank, Simon and Richter, Rudolf and Klein, Doris and Riedlinger, Torsten (2021) The DLR FireBIRD Small Satellite Mission: Evaluation of Infrared Data for Wildfire Assessment. Remote Sensing, 13, pp. 1-18. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). doi: 10.3390/rs13081459. ISSN 2072-4292.

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Official URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/13/8/1459/pdf


Wildfires significantly influence ecosystem patterns and processes on a global scale. In many cases, they pose a threat to human lives and property. Through greenhouse gas emissions, wildfires also directly contribute to climate change. The monitoring of such events and the analysis of acquired data is crucial for understanding wildfire and ecosystem interactions. The FireBIRD small satellite mission, operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), was specifically designed for the detection of wildfires. It features a higher spatial resolution than available with other Earthobservation systems. In addition to the detection of active fire locations, the system also allows the derivation of fire intensity by means of the Fire Radiative Power (FRP). This indicator can be used as a basis to derive the amount of emitted pollutant, which makes it valuable for climate studies. With the FireBIRD mission facing its end of life in 2021, this study retrospectively evaluates the performance of the system through an inter-comparison with data from two satellite missions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and discusses the potential of such a system. The comparison is performed regarding both geometrical and radiometric aspects, the latter focusing on the FRP. This study uses and compares two different methods to derive the FRP from FireBIRD data. The data are analyzed regarding six major fire incidents in different regions of the world. The FireBIRD results are in accordance with the reference data, showing a geometrical overlapping rate of 83% and 84% regarding MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) overpasses in close temporal proximity. Furthermore, the results show a positive bias in FRP of about 11% compared to MODIS.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/141724/
Document Type:Article
Title:The DLR FireBIRD Small Satellite Mission: Evaluation of Infrared Data for Wildfire Assessment
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Nolde, MichaelUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6981-9730UNSPECIFIED
Plank, SimonUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5793-052XUNSPECIFIED
Richter, RudolfUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8499-4780UNSPECIFIED
Date:9 April 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Remote Sensing
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-18
Publisher:Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Series Name:Special Issue "Proximal and Remote Sensing in the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Range"
Keywords:wildfire assessment; FireBIRD; TET-1; BIROS; active fire; MODIS; VIIRS; fire radiative power
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben FireBIRD Science (old), R - Optical remote sensing, R - Spectroscopic methods of the atmosphere
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > Geo Risks and Civil Security
German Remote Sensing Data Center > Leitungsbereich DFD
Remote Sensing Technology Institute > Photogrammetry and Image Analysis
Deposited By: Nolde, Dr. Michael
Deposited On:19 Apr 2021 09:23
Last Modified:24 May 2022 23:47

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