Monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fires – new whitepaper

Managing and reducing emissons from controlled burns and wildfires is an increasingly important objective in fire management. Emissions from fires influence the global climate and affect the environment and human health. Projects aiming at reducing emissions may qualify for climate mitigation finance, provided that they can actually prove a reduction of emissions. Knowledge about the fire history and a baseline of fire emissions, as well as efficient and reliable monitoring is therefore the key to success.

In a new white paper, we describe the methods used for estimating smoke emissions from fires in firemaps.net and show how practical applications for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fire can be implemented using the tools provided by firemaps.net. Our method is based on direct observation of the actively burning fire using satellites observing Earth with infrared sensors. These sensors are able to measure the heat emitted from fires. The amount of heat released during a fire is proportional to the amount of biomass burned, and biomass burned in turn is proportional to emissions of greenhouse gases and other smoke constituents.  Using this method therefore offers an opportunity for directly deriving fuel consumption and emissions from remote sensing data. The paper describes the estimation model and data used to derive fuel consumption from multiple satellite observations of active fires and burned areas, and the conversion of fuel consumption to smoke emissions. A comparison to field data is also provided. A detailed discussion of the achieved accuracy and sources of uncertainties is provided in the annex. In the concluding part of the white paper we describe practical applications with a focus on savanna ecosystems, first discussing the role of fire and CO2 and Non-CO2 greenhouse gas fluxes in savannas. A good understanding of fire regimes in potential project areas is required to plan for mitigation projects.  Hence the role of establishing a fire emissions baseline for planning of emission reduction activities is described. Shifting of burning patterns has been shown to be an option to achieve reductions in fire emissions. We show how this can be planned, implemented and documented in firemaps.net with examples from West Africa and Brazil. Apart from directly reducing fire emissions, improved fire management, e.g. through using prescribed burning, can also help to increase carbon stocks when fire intensities are managed. How this can be done will be a key topic in a forthcoming white paper. Finally we point out how firemaps.net information products can help building a proposal to acquire funding through mechanisms such as the green climate fund.

Get the white paper (You may need to login or register).

firemaps.net wins the Copernicus Masters DLR Environment and Health Challenge

Yesterday, we have been awarded the prestigious Copernicus Masters DLR Environment and Health Challenge Price! The award ceremony took place during the European Space Week in Tallinn, Estonia.

This is what jury member Dr. Doris Klein (scientific coordinator of the DLR FireBird project) says about firemaps.net:

«Information about fire is relevant for many aspects – ranging from human security to ecosystem management. firemaps.net shows how remote sensing data can be transformed into fire information. By providing this information in a user friendly way to environmental managers, it enables them to make informed decisions and to reduce negative impacts from bush and savanna fires, such as greenhouse gas emissions or damages to trees.»

The Copernicus Masters are often called the “Space Oscars”. Receiving this prize makes us proud about what we already achieved so far and motivates us for the next steps and new features we are currently busily implementing. Thanks go to the jury and to DLR, the sponsors of the price, and thanks go to the European Commission for investing in observing planet Earth with the Sentinel satellite fleet! The Sentinel open data policy makes the development of services such as ours possible.

 

firemaps.net at the 37th International Symposium for Remote Sensing of Environment

Discover firemaps.net at the 37th International Symposium for Remote Sensing of Envrionment (ISRSE) in South Africa.

The 37th edition of ISRSE will convene in Tshwane, South Africa 8 to 12 May 2017. The theme is “Earth Observation for Development and Adaptation to a Changing World”.

This will be the second time in this millennium that the African continent will host ISRSE. The event takes place at a time of rapid development in the African space science and technology sector. We have been active on the African continent in recent projects supporting fire monitoring in Tanzania, in transfrontier National Parks in South Africa and Mozambique, and are currently supporting fire management in the World Heritage Site Comoé National Park in Ivory Coast. Have a look at our maps on over ten years of biomass burning and emissions data for South Africa here

Find out more on ISRSE37 on this external link.

Apart from presenting firemaps.net at our booth (number 23) at ISRSE, we report on our latest work in the wildfire session on Thursday 9th May under the title “Analyzing fire behavior from space using high and medium resolution IR sensors”. More hot stuff is shown in our talk “detecting and analyzing gas flares using Sentinel 3 and FireBird” in the session on greenhouse gases on Wednesday 10th March.

 

fires in the news – Spain, summer 2016

While Spain is experiencing a record tourist season in 2016, it is also suffering a record year in forest and bush fires. And these make it to the (international) news more easily, when tourists and fires come together, as has happened in the Spanish province of Alicante near the beach resort of Benidorm. Hundreds of residents, and many tourists, had to be evacuated, as fires (probably ignited by arsonists) ravaged near the location of Javea.

Read morefires in the news – Spain, summer 2016

what firemaps.net is about

firemaps.net provides you with fire monitoring information from space.

We support fire management planning through information on burned area, fuel consumption, biomass burned and emissions of greenhouse gases and other smoke constituents, as well as on the timing of the fires. We derive this information from burned area datasets and from observations of the burning fires through infrared sensors such as MODIS.

Read morewhat firemaps.net is about