Assessment of different spectral indices in the red-near-infrared spectral domain for burned land discrimination
A new spectral index named Burned Area Index (BAI), specifically designed for burned land discrimination in the red-near-infrared spectral domain, was tested on multitemporal sets of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) images. The utility of BAI for burned land discrimination was assessed against other widely used spectral vegetation indices: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI) and Global Environmental Monitoring Index (GEMI). BAI provided the highest discrimination ability among the indices tested. It also showed a high variability within scorched areas, which reduced the average normalized distances with respect to other indices. A source of potential confusion between burned land areas and low-reflectance targets, such as water bodies and cloud shadows, was identified. Since BAI was designed to emphasize the charcoal signal in post-fire images, this index was highly dependent on the temporal permanence of charcoal after fires.