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An improved detection and characterization of active fires and smoke plumes in south-eastern Africa and Madagascar

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The present study proposes improved multispectral methods for the detection of vegetation fires and smoke plumes that are applied to south-eastern Africa and Madagascar. Data are provided by the AVHRR sensor onboard the NOAA (11 and 14) satellites. Improvements of a multispectral methods address to fire detection difficulties arising from the low saturation level of AVHRR channel 3, from the presence of clouds and from contrasted vegetation and climate conditions. The methods are based on a multi-channel algorithm using AVHRR data, in visible and thermal ranges. Results are checked against other algorithm and ground concurrent data. It is shown that the presented multispectral methods are able to detect vegetation fires and associated smoke plumes with an improved accuracy. The results evidence clearly the seasonal character of biomass burning. Two maxima are characterized in the reference zone: one in September in Mozambique and the other in October in Eastern Madagascar. We note that fire intensity maxima were accompanied by well developed smoke plumes which could reach more than 50km.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 20 September 1998

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