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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(7), 6136-6162; doi:10.3390/rs6076136

Analysis of the Relationship between Land Surface Temperature and Wildfire Severity in a Series of Landsat Images

1
GEOFOREST Group, IUCA, Department of Geography and Spatial Management, University of Zaragoza, Spain, Pedro Cerbuna 12, Zaragoza E-50009, Spain
2
Department of Environmental Sciences, Technical State University of Quevedo, Quevedo EC120509, Los Rios, Ecuador
3
Centro Universitario de la Defensa de Zaragoza, Zaragoza E-50090, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 January 2014 / Revised: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantifying the Environmental Impact of Forest Fires)
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Abstract

The paper assesses spatio-temporal patterns of land surface temperature (LST) and fire severity in the Las Hurdes wildfire of Pinus pinaster forest, which occurred in July 2009, in Extremadura (Spain), from a time series of fifteen Landsat 5 TM images corresponding to 27 post-fire months. The differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) was used to evaluate burn severity. The mono-window algorithm was applied to estimate LST from the Landsat thermal band. The burned zones underwent a significant increase in LST after fire. Statistically significant differences have been detected between the LST within regions of burn severity categories. More substantial changes in LST are observed in zones of greater fire severity, which can be explained by the lower emissivity of combustion products found in the burned area and changes in the energy balance related to vegetation removal. As time progresses over the 27 months after fire, LST differences decrease due to vegetation regeneration. The differences in LST and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values between burn severity categories in each image are highly correlated (r = 0.84). Spatial patterns of severity and post-fire LST obtained from Landsat time series enable an evaluation of the relationship between these variables to predict the natural dynamics of burned areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: land surface temperature(LST); Landsat; burn severity; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); remote sensing land surface temperature(LST); Landsat; burn severity; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); remote sensing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vlassova, L.; Pérez-Cabello, F.; Mimbrero, M.R.; Llovería, R.M.; García-Martín, A. Analysis of the Relationship between Land Surface Temperature and Wildfire Severity in a Series of Landsat Images. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 6136-6162.

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