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Inter‐comparison of AVHRR‐based fire susceptibility indicators for the Mediterranean ecosystems of southern Italy

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The existing parameters based on Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data and devised for fire susceptibility estimation (FSE) were applied in different regions of southern Italy. Their performances were evaluated by using a wide data sample of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-12 and -14 summer imagery acquired from 1996 to 1999. In order to test their effectiveness, each different parameter was tested by applying the same thresholding procedure on every individual parameter independent from its pre-established classification by the authors. The evaluation was performed by comparing fire archives (provided by the Italian National Forestry Service) to the results obtained. The most satisfactory results were obtained by using a combination of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and thermal channels. These experimental analyses confirmed that improvements were achieved from methods that combine NDVI with thermal channels, in particular when the two indicators are first classified separately and then combined in a single index. This allows a valid reduction of the number of pixels classified as fire vulnerable compared with methods that apply a joined classification of NDVI and surface temperature (Ts). Finally, the use of the AVHRR channel 3 (thermal data) proved to be more effective than Ts. Such evaluations are a valuable support for the assessment of how satellite-based parameters can be profitably used to improve the estimation of fire susceptibility in operational applications. Our findings can be directly extended to other Mediterranean-like ecosystems.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Istituto di Metodologie per l'Analisi Ambientale, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IMAA‐CNR), Area di Ricerca di Potenza, C/da S. Loya, 85050 Tito Scalo, Potenza, Italy, 0971 427214, 0971 427271, Email:

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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