Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-14 imagery was used to analyse changes in land surface temperature in an area of Central Mexico during the course of each dry season (November-April) for the period 1996-2000. Daily surface temperature was obtained by the split-window method and cloud-free monthly composites were subsequently built. This value was related to maximum air temperatures recorded at meteorological stations and to forest fires detected from night-time images. During 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 (El Niño) dry seasons, monthly surface temperature ranged from 35°C to 46°C and from 33°C to 51°C, respectively; during 1998-1999 (La Niña) and 1999-2000 it was lower, ranging from 28°C to 47°C, and from 28°C to 41°C, respectively. At the end of El Niño, land surface temperatures higher than 50°C were registered, and 730 forest fires were detected, suggesting that this temperature increment also contributed to the vulnerability of vegetation to fire. It is concluded that land surface temperature during the first four months of the dry season can be used as a variable for modelling the probability of forest fire occurrence, in combination with other environmental variables. Similarities between land surface temperature and maximum air temperature suggest the potential use of NOAA-AVHRR imagery for evaluating El Niño/La Niña effects on the continental surface.
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Document Type: Research Article
Facultad de Ciencias
Instituto de Geografía
Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México México DF 04510
Publication date: October 1, 2004
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