VIIRS Unique Fires Compared to the NOAA Hazard Mapping System Fire Analysis

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mark Ruminski and Keith Liddick, NOAA College Park, NESDIS, College Park, MD, United States
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite provides radiometric measurements for automated fire detection. The baseline VIIRS Active Fire Product (AFP) is very similar to the collection 4 legacy fire detection algorithm developed for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Terra and Aqua spacecraft and is expected to become operational and validated in the Fall of 2014. VIIRS (imagery and the AFP) will soon be incorporated into NESDIS’ operational Hazard Mapping System (HMS) fire and smoke analysis. The HMS incorporates a wide variety of satellite data for use in fire detection, including GOES-East and GOES-West at least every 15 minutes, five NOAA and METOP polar orbiting satellites with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument and MODIS Aqua/Terra. The HMS utilizes the automated fire detections from each of the sensors which are then quality controlled by an analyst. The VIIRS AFP became available for evaluation with the HMS in the Spring of 2014. The AFP was compared with the final quality controlled HMS product over the contiguous US between 8 April and 8 June 2014, which is primarily the agricultural and prescribed fire season, in order to determine the number of VIIRS unique fires. In making the comparison, any VIIRS AFP fire that was within 4 km of an HMS fire would not be considered unique, due to navigational accuracy and the 4km nominal resolution of GOES. Any VIIRS fire that was within 2km of a power plant or a known false detect location was also not considered. Based on these criteria there were 5876 VIIRS AFP unique locations compared to 71,705 HMS detections, approximately 8 percent of the HMS total. These extra locations potentially represent additional emissions that could affect air quality. The geographic distribution resembled the burning pattern during this period with the majority over the Southeast and from the Northern Plains to the Gulf Coast, with a peak cluster over the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. Additional comparisons for the 2014 Summer and Fall wildfire seasons will be conducted and presented.