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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(11), 1131; doi:10.3390/rs9111131

Performance of Three MODIS Fire Products (MCD45A1, MCD64A1, MCD14ML), and ESA Fire_CCI in a Mountainous Area of Northwest Yunnan, China, Characterized by Frequent Small Fires

1,2,3
,
1,3
and
1,3,*
1
Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research, Dali University, Hongsheng Rd. 2, Dali 671003, China
2
Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, 66 Boulevard Carl Vogt, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
3
Collaborative Innovation Center for Biodiversity and Conservation in the Three Parallel Rivers Region of China, Dali 671003, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 1 November 2017 / Published: 6 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4243 KB, uploaded 22 November 2017]   |  

Abstract

An increasing number of end-users looking for ground data about fire activity in regions where accurate official datasets are not available adopt a free-of-charge global burned area (BA) and active fire (AF) products for applications at the local scale. One of the pressing requirements from the user community is an improved ability to detect small fires (less than 50 ha), whose impact on terrestrial environments is empirically known but poorly quantified, and is often excluded from global earth system models. The newest generation of BA algorithms combines the capabilities of both the BA and AF detection approaches, resulting in a general improvement of detection compared to their predecessors. Accuracy assessments of these products have been done in several ecosystems; but more complex ones, such as regions that are characterized by frequent small fires and steep terrain has never been assessed. This study contributes to the understanding of the performance of global BA and AF products with a first assessment of four selected datasets: MODIS-based MCD45A1; MCD64A1; MCD14ML; and, ESA’s Fire_CCI in a mountainous region of northwest Yunnan; P.R. China. Due to the medium to coarse resolution of the tested products and the reduced sizes of fires (often smaller than 50 ha) we used a polygon intersection assessment method where the number and locations of fire events extracted from each dataset were compared against a reference dataset that was compiled using Landsat scenes. The results for the two sample years (2006 and 2009) show that the older, non-hybrid products MCD45A1 and, MCD14ML were the best performers with Sørensen index (F1 score) reaching 0.42 and 0.26 in 2006, and 0.24 and 0.24 in 2009, respectively, while producer’s accuracies (PA) were 30% and 43% in 2006, and 16% and 47% in 2009, respectively. All of the four tested products obtained higher probabilities of detection when smaller fires were excluded from the assessment, with PAs for fires bigger than 50 ha being equal to 53% and 61% in 2006, 41% and 66% in 2009 for MCD45A1 and MCD14ML, respectively. Due to the technical limitations of the satellites’ sensors, a relatively low performance of the four products was expected. Surprisingly, the new hybrid algorithms produced worse results than the former two. Fires smaller than 50 ha were poorly detected by the products except for the only AF product. These findings are significant for the future design of improved algorithms aiming for increased detection of small fires in a greater diversity of ecosystems. View Full-Text
Keywords: MODIS fire; ESA CCI; burned area detection; mountainous region; Northwest Yunnan; small fires MODIS fire; ESA CCI; burned area detection; mountainous region; Northwest Yunnan; small fires
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fornacca, D.; Ren, G.; Xiao, W. Performance of Three MODIS Fire Products (MCD45A1, MCD64A1, MCD14ML), and ESA Fire_CCI in a Mountainous Area of Northwest Yunnan, China, Characterized by Frequent Small Fires. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1131.

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