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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(5), 4061-4089; doi:10.3390/rs6054061
Article

A Decade Long, Multi-Scale Map Comparison of Fire Regime Parameters Derived from Three Publically Available Satellite-Based Fire Products: A Case Study in the Central African Republic

1,* , 1
 and 2,3
Received: 30 December 2013; in revised form: 23 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 2 May 2014
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Abstract: Although it is assumed that satellite-derived descriptions of fire activity will differ depending on the dataset selected for analysis, as of yet, the effects of failed and false detections at the pixel level and on an instantaneous basis have not been propagated through space and time to determine their cumulative impact on the characterization of individual fire regime parameters. Here we perform the first ever decade long, multi-scale map comparison of fire chronologies and fire seasonality derived from three publicly available satellite-based fire products: the MODIS active fire product (MCD14ML), the ATSR nighttime World Fire Atlas (WFA), and the MODIS burned area product (MCD45A1). Results indicate that: (i) the agreement between fire chronologies derived from two dissimilar satellite products improves as fire pixels are aggregated into coarser grid cells, but diminishes as the number of years included in the time series increases; and (ii) all three datasets provide distinctly different portraits of the onset, peak, and duration of the fire season regardless of the map resolution. Differences in regional, long-term fire regime parameters derived from the three datasets are attributed to the unique capability of each sensor and detection algorithm to recognize geographical gradients, seasonal oscillations, decadal trends, and interannual variability in active fire characteristics and burned area patterns. Since different satellite sensors and detection algorithm strategies are sensitive to different types of fires, we demonstrate that disagreements in fire regime maps derived from dissimilar satellite-based fire products can be used as an advantage to highlight spatial and temporal transitions in landscape fire activity. Given access to multiple, publically available datasets, we caution against describing fire regimes using a single satellite-based active fire or burned area product.
Keywords: fire occurrence; fire chronologies; fire seasonality; MODIS; (A)ATSR; active fire; burned area fire occurrence; fire chronologies; fire seasonality; MODIS; (A)ATSR; active fire; burned area
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Freeborn, P.H.; Cochrane, M.A.; Wooster, M.J. A Decade Long, Multi-Scale Map Comparison of Fire Regime Parameters Derived from Three Publically Available Satellite-Based Fire Products: A Case Study in the Central African Republic. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 4061-4089.

AMA Style

Freeborn PH, Cochrane MA, Wooster MJ. A Decade Long, Multi-Scale Map Comparison of Fire Regime Parameters Derived from Three Publically Available Satellite-Based Fire Products: A Case Study in the Central African Republic. Remote Sensing. 2014; 6(5):4061-4089.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Freeborn, Patrick H.; Cochrane, Mark A.; Wooster, Martin J. 2014. "A Decade Long, Multi-Scale Map Comparison of Fire Regime Parameters Derived from Three Publically Available Satellite-Based Fire Products: A Case Study in the Central African Republic." Remote Sens. 6, no. 5: 4061-4089.


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