Remote sensing of fires with the TRMM VIRS
Although the Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) instrument on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite is designed primarily to study precipitation, it offers a new opportunity for the remote sensing of fire activity in regions within 40 of the equator. VIRS is a five-channel imaging spectroradiometer with bands ranging from 0.6 to 12 mu m. Its similarity to the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), which has operated since 1978 on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite series, is no coincidence, as a primary objective of VIRS is to provide an important link between TRMM precipitation measurements and those derived from other current and historical satellite sensors. The similarity of the VIRS infrared bands, in particular, to those of AVHRR provides a foundation for fire detection, which has been clearly demonstrated for AVHRR. However, VIRS offers some additional capabilities which should enable it to make an important contribution to the remote sensing of fire.
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