Predicting fire activity using terrestrial water storage data

Mar 29, 2013

High fire activity periods in the Amazon region can be predicted months in advance on the basis of water storage data, a new study shows.

Chen et al. analyzed satellite observations of terrestrial water storage from the Gravity Recovery and (GRACE) mission, along with satellite observations of fire activity from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) mission.

GRACE measures the Earth's by calculating the distance between two satellites as slight variations in density pull on one satellite more than the other. The provide information about the amount of groundwater or surface water in a given region.

The researchers contrasted high and low fire years in the period from 2002 to 2011 and find that in high fire years, terrestrial water storage during the months before the fire season was generally below average, while in low fire years, water storage in the months before the dry season was generally above average.

This suggests that, at least qualitatively, water storage as measured by GRACE can provide information to help predict the severity of the fire season in the several months in advance.

Explore further: TRMM Satellite calculates Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo rainfall

More information: Satellite observations of terrestrial water storage provide early warning information about drought and fire season severity in the Amazon, Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, doi:10.1002/jgrg.20046 , 2013 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgrg.20046/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Texas drought visible in new national groundwater maps

Nov 30, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The record-breaking drought in Texas that has fueled wildfires, decimated crops and forced cattle sales has also reduced levels of groundwater in much of the state to the lowest levels seen ...

More water stored along major rivers during El Nino years

Oct 11, 2012

El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) - the semiperiodic climate event associated with warming sea surface temperatures off the coast of Peru - not only disrupts atmospheric circulations, dramatically altering weather patterns ...

Satellite data explains vanishing India groundwater

Aug 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using satellite data, UC Irvine and NASA hydrologists have found that groundwater beneath northern India has been receding by as much as 1 foot per year over the past decade - and they believe ...

Recommended for you

Tropical Depression 9 forms in Gulf of Mexico

15 hours ago

Tropical Depression Nine formed over the western Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico and is forecast to make a quick landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. NOAA's GOES-East Satellite captured the birth of the ...

$58 million effort to study potential new energy source

20 hours ago

A research team led by The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded approximately $58 million to analyze deposits of frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico that hold enormous potential to increase ...

And now, the volcano forecast

21 hours ago

Scientists are using volcanic gases to understand how volcanoes work, and as the basis of a hazard-warning forecast system.

User comments : 0