Assessment of biomass consumption variability in forest fires using satellite remote sensing

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



Under this NASA New Investigator project, Dr. French is continuing research to quantify variables important in estimating carbon emissions from biomass burning. In particular, this project aims to assess the variability in the amount of biomass consumed during forest fires, one of the most difficult variables to measure for fire emissions work and the most variable. In this poster we report results from this study on the level and variability of biomass (fuel) consumption in wildland fires in forest regions of western and northern North America. The results can be used to improve model inputs and to better define the uncertainty in model-based estimates of fire emissions. Remote sensing-based maps of severity are used to partition fires into severity classes. Field measures of consumption and model outputs relating fuel moisture to consumption are used to quantify fuel consumption as a function of severity class and fuel type. Demonstration of empirically-driven fuel consumption models to derive consumption levels is presented as well as methods to use remote sensing to map fire severity in temperate and boreal regions. The results found in this study allow for a more accurate accounting of the amount of biomass consumed during burning for improved estimates of carbon emissions.

Publisher's Statement

© 2008 NASA.

Publication Title

NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Joint Science Workshop