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Keywords:

  • global;
  • burnt area;
  • verification;
  • GLOBSCAR;
  • satellite;
  • ATSR-2

[1] Quantifying the contribution of biomass burning to the global distribution of emissions of carbon into the atmosphere requires knowledge of the area burnt. The GLOBSCAR project was initiated in 2001 as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Data User Programme, with the objective of producing global incremental monthly maps of burnt areas, using daytime data from year 2000 of the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR-2) instrument onboard the ESA ERS-2 satellite. The processing system combines the use of two algorithms representing different approaches to burnt area detection. The K1 algorithm is a contextual algorithm based on the geometrical characteristics of the burnt pixels in the near-infrared (NIR, 0.87 microns)/thermal infrared (TIR, 11 microns) space, while the E1 algorithm consists of a series of fixed threshold tests applied to the data using information from four different spectral channels. The GLOBSCAR products are available from the GeoSuccess Web site (http://www.geosuccess.net) in ASCII and vector format. The products were validated using a variety of qualitative and quantitative tests against other field and remote sensing data. The GLOBSCAR results are presented per region and are compared to available statistics and other remote sensing products such as the ATSR-2 World Fire Atlas (WFA) and the Global Burnt Area product derived from SPOT/VEGETATION (GBA-2000). The potential and limitations of the GLOBSCAR products are then discussed. It is concluded that while the GLOBSCAR products represent a definite progress toward a better quantification of the areas burnt annually at the larger scales, coordinated improvements in remote sensing products are needed in order to better address the requirements of the user community. Future activities include the consolidation of the results through further qualification and the development of a multiyear multisensor product building upon the experience gained from both GLOBSCAR and GBA-2000 projects.