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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(9), 4423-4449; doi:10.3390/rs5094423

VIIRS Nightfire: Satellite Pyrometry at Night

1,* , 2
1 Earth Observation Group, NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, CO 80305, USA 2 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 May 2013 / Revised: 27 August 2013 / Accepted: 28 August 2013 / Published: 11 September 2013


The Nightfire algorithm detects and characterizes sub-pixel hot sources using multispectral data collected globally, each night, by the Suomi National Polar Partnership (NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The spectral bands utilized span visible, near-infrared (NIR), short-wave infrared (SWIR), and mid-wave infrared (MWIR). The primary detection band is in the SWIR, centered at 1.6 μm. Without solar input, the SWIR spectral band records sensor noise, punctuated by high radiant emissions associated with gas flares, biomass burning, volcanoes, and industrial sites such as steel mills. Planck curve fitting of the hot source radiances yields temperature (K) and emission scaling factor (ESF). Additional calculations are done to estimate source size (m2), radiant heat intensity (W/m2), and radiant heat (MW). Use of the sensor noise limited M7, M8, and M10 spectral bands at night reduce scene background effects, which are widely reported for fire algorithms based on MWIR and long-wave infrared. High atmospheric transmissivity in the M10 spectral band reduces atmospheric effects on temperature and radiant heat retrievals. Nightfire retrieved temperature estimates for sub-pixel hot sources ranging from 600 to 6,000 K. An intercomparison study of biomass burning in Sumatra from June 2013 found Nightfire radiant heat (MW) to be highly correlated to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) Fire Radiative Power (MW).
Keywords: SNPP; VIIRS; fire detection; gas flaring; biomass burning; fossil fuel carbon emissions SNPP; VIIRS; fire detection; gas flaring; biomass burning; fossil fuel carbon emissions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Elvidge, C.D.; Zhizhin, M.; Hsu, F.-C.; Baugh, K.E. VIIRS Nightfire: Satellite Pyrometry at Night. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 4423-4449.

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