Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Satellite remote sensing of fires during the SAFARI campaign using NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data


  • C. O. Justice,

  • J. D. Kendall,

  • P. R. Dowty,

  • R. J. Scholes


Active fires in southern Africa were detected using daily NOAA advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) 1-km satellite data. The active fire distribution during the period of the SAFARI intensive field campaign in September and October 1992 is described. The distribution of fires for the period of the campaign is presented along with a comparison for the same period in 1989. For the latitudinal belt between 15° and 30°S which was affected by drought in 1992, there was an average of 49% fewer fires in 1992 than in 1989. However, most of the burning in southern Africa takes place between 5° and 20°S with peak activity between the months of July and September. The interannual variability in the amount and timing of fires was noted. The relationship between fires, rainfall, and vegetation state for the two years are described for sample locations. The extent of the 1992 drought and its impact on the occurrence of fire are also discussed.