Using the extensive archive of historical ERS-1 and -2 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, this analysis demonstrates that fire disturbance can be effectively detected and monitored in high northern latitudes using radar technology. A total of 392 SAR images from May to August spanning 1992–2010 were analyzed from three study fires in the Alaskan tundra. The investigated fires included the 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire and the 1993 DCKN178 Fire on the North Slope of Alaska and the 1999 Uvgoon Creek Fire in the Noatak National Preserve. A 3 dB difference was found between burned and unburned tundra, with the best time for burned area detection being as late in the growing season as possible before frozen ground conditions develop. This corresponds to mid-August for the study fires. In contrast to electro-optical studies from the same region, measures of landscape recovery as detected by the SAR were on the order of four to five years instead of one.
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Jenkins, L. K.,
French, N. H.,
Loboda, T. V.,
Development of methods for detection and monitoring of fire disturbance in the Alaskan tundra using a two-decade long record of synthetic aperture radar satellite images.
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