Burned Area Essential Climate Variable

Science Center Objects

Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) track critical attributes of the atmosphere, oceanic, and terrestrial systems over time-scales appropriate for analyzing their relationships with climate change. As part of a larger Climate Data Record (CDR) and ECV project, scientists at GECSC are leading the development and validation of the Burned Area ECV algorithm. This algorithm automatically extracts burned areas from Landsat imagery with a spatial resolution of 30 meters and a minimum temporal resolution of 16 days. Fires are frequently unreported and consequently existing fire databases are often incomplete, have location errors and/or duplicate records. The Burned Area ECV provides information about spatial and temporal patterns of fire occurrence that existing fire databases may lack, especially in areas of shrub and grassland ecosystems in the West, the Great Plains, and the Southeastern US. Validation protocols being established in collaboration with the European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative ECV Fire Disturbance validation team incorporate and adapt the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Land Product Validation Subgroup's best practice guidelines.