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UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal
Wildfire, also called forest, bush or vegetation fire, can be described as any uncontrolled and non-prescribed combustion or burning of plants in a natural setting such as a forest, grassland, brush land or tundra, which consumes the natural fuels and spreads based on environmental conditions (e.g., wind, topography). Wildfire can be incited by human actions, such as land clearing, extreme drought or in rare cases by lightning (IRDR).
There are three conditions that need to be present in order for a wildfire to burn: fuel, oxygen, and a heat source. Fuel is any flammable material surrounding a fire, including trees, grasses, brush, even homes. The greater an area's fuel load, the more intense the fire. Air supplies the oxygen a fire needs to burn. Heat sources help spark the wildfire and bring fuel to temperatures hot enough to ignite. Lightning, burning campfires or cigarettes, hot winds, and even the sun can all provide sufficient heat to spark a wildfire (National Geographic).
The Global Wildland Fire Network Bulletin published by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) presents the most recent data regarding consequences of wildfire: in 2017, 36 fires in protected areas were recorded in 19 countries burning more than 196000 hectares worldwide.
Wildfire plays a mixed role for ecology and economy since some ecosystems depend on natural fires to maintaining their dynamics, biodiversity and productivity. However, every year, wildfires burn millions of hectares of forest woodlands and other vegetation, causing the loss of many human and animal lives and an immense economic damage, both in terms of resources destroyed and the costs of suppression. There are also impacts on society and the environment, such as damage to human health from smoke, loss of biological diversity, release of greenhouse gases, damage to recreational values and infrastructure (FAO).
Most fires are caused by people. The list of human motivations include land clearing and other agricultural activities, maintenance of grasslands for livestock management, extraction of non-wood forest products, industrial development, resettlement, hunting, negligence and arson. Only in very remote areas of Canada and the Russian Federation lightning is a major cause of fires (FAO).
There are three basic types of wildfires:
Landsat 9 was successfully launched on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Landsat 9 data is publicly available from USGS.
Landsat 9—a partnership between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey— continues the Landsat program’s critical role in monitoring, understanding and managing the land resources needed to sustain human life.
Today’s increased rates of global land cover and land use change have profound consequences for weather and climate change, ecosystem function and services, carbon cycling and sequestration, resource management, the national and global economy, human health, and society.
Landsat is the only U.S. satellite system designed and operated to repeatedly observe the global land surface at a moderate scale that shows both natural and human-induced change.
Since reducing the risk of a Landsat data gap is a high priority of the U.S. Sustainable Land Imaging Program, Landsat 9 has a design very similar...read more
Amazônia-1 is the first Earth Observation satellite completely designed, integrated, tested and operated by Brazil. It features the optical Advanced Wide Field Imager (AWFI), with swath width 850 km and 60 m resolution, capturing images in 3 visible bands and 1 near-infrared (NIR) band. It has a high revisit period of 5 days, which is important for increasing the probability of capturing useful images over frequently overcast areas including the Amazon region. The data will be accessible to the scientific community, government agencies, and to users interested in a better understanding of the terrestrial environment. The Amazon mission is planned to have three remote sensing satellites: Amazonia-1, followed by Amazonia-1B and Amazonia-2.
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite was launched into orbit on November 21, 2020. The launch was a culminated European-American effort that involved organisations from both sides of the atlantic. The European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meterological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Centre for Space Studes (CNES) all collaborated together to make the launch of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich a reality. The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is the first of the Sentinel-6 satellites. An identical satellite, Sentinel-6B will follow in 2025. At an altitude of 1336 km the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will use instruments on board to provide highly accurate measurements of the sea level in an effort to combat...
The Argentinean Microwaves Observation Satellite 1B (SAOCOM 1B) was launched into orbit on August 30, 2020 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, United States of America. Developed by the National Argentinean Space Commission (CONAE) in corporation with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), this new satellite joined SAOCOM 1A and four Italian COSMO-SkyMed to complete the Italian-Argentinean Satellite System for Emergency Management (SIASGE). The SAOCOM 1B satellite orbits at 620 km above the earth's surface and is fitted with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor that makes use of microwaves in the electromagnetic L-band. The spatial resolution of its imagery ranges between 10 and 100 meters. The data collected by SAOCOM 1B helps monitor climatological disasters (forest fires, glacial lake outbursts, droughts) and hydrological disasters (landslides and floods).
The Argentinean Microwaves Observation Satellite 1B (SAOCOM 1B) was launched into orbit on August 30, 2020 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, United States of America. Developed by the National Argentinean Space Commission (CONAE) in corporation with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), this new satellite joined SAOCOM 1A and four Italian COSMO-SkyMed to complete the Italian-Argentinean Satellite System for Emergency Management (SIASGE). The SAOCOM 1B satellite orbits at 620 km above the earth's surface and is fitted with a Synthetic...read more
PRISMA (Hyperspectral Precursor of the Application Mission), mission fully funded by Italian Space Agency (ASI), is an Earth Observation system with innovative, electro-optical instrumentation that combine a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. The advantages of this combination are that in addition to the usual capability of observation based on recognising the geometric characteristics of the scene there are hyperspectral sensors which determine the chemical-physical composition of the objects present on the scene. This offers the scientific community and users many applications in the field of environmental monitoring, resource management, crop classification, pollution control and other things.read more
NovaSAR-1 was launched into orbit on September 16, 2018 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. It was developed by the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) in cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) of the Republic of the Philipines. NovaSAR-1 orbits at 583 km above the earth's surface and is fitted with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor that makes use of microwaves in the electromagnetic S-band. The spatial resolution of its imagery ranges between 6 and 30 metres. The data collected by NovaSAR-1 helps monitor climatological disasters (forest fires and droughts) and hydrological disasters (floods).read more
The ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) mission measures the temperature of plants to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to stress. ECOSTRESS is attached to the International Space Station (ISS) and collects data over the conterminous United States (CONUS) as well as key biomes and agricultural zones around the world and selected FLUXNET (http://fluxnet.fluxdata.org/about/) validation sites. A map of the acquisition coverage can be found on the ECOSTRESS website (https://ecostress.jpl.nasa.gov/science).
Carrying a suite of cutting-edge instruments, Sentinel-3 will measure systematically Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics. It will provide essential information in near-real time for ocean and weather forecasting.
The mission is based on two identical satellites orbiting in constellation for optimum global coverage and data delivery. For example, with a swath width of 1270 km, the ocean and land colour instrument will provide global coverage every two days. Sentinel-3B was launched on 25 April 2018.
With a focus towards our oceans, Sentinel-3 measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements will be used, for example, to monitor changes in sea level, marine pollution and biological productivity.
Over land, this innovative mission will provide a bigger picture by monitoring wildfires, mapping the way land is used, provide indices of...
Cartosat-2 is an advanced remote sensing satellite with a single panchromatic camera (PAN) capable of providing scene-specific spot imageries for cartographic applications. The camera is designed to provide imageries with better than one meter spatial resolution and a swath of 10 km. The satellite will have high agility with capability to steer along and across the track up to + 45 degrees. It will be placed in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of 630 km. It will have a revisit period of four days. The re-visit can be improved to one day with suitable orbit manoeuvres.
Several new technologies like two mirror on axis single camera, Carbon Fabric Reinforced Plastic based electro optic structure, lightweight, large size mirrors, JPEG like data compression, advanced solid state recorder, high-torque reaction wheels and high performance star sensors are being employed in Cartosat-2.
Beginning with Cartosat 2C, a Multi-spectral camera was added and...read more