Friday, February 19, 2010

Asia sees fewer wildfires

Environmental Research Web: Over the last two decades, Asian countries have experienced much less wildfire. That's according to researchers at Peking University, China, who have set up a new inventory of emissions from non-agricultural open fires in the region for 2000–2009.

"The emissions from open fire (e.g. forest fire, grass fire and field crop residue burning) play an important role in climate change and the atmospheric environment," Song Yu of Peking University told environmentalresearchweb. "A reliable emission inventory with high temporal spatial resolution is in high demand for atmospheric chemistry and transport simulation."

…Nonagricultural fires have dropped sharply in Asian countries since the 1990s as governments have made efforts to restrict human practices that cause wildfires, to prevent pollution, health problems and economic and environmental losses. So Yu and colleagues felt that a new emissions inventory was needed. With this in mind, they used burned area product data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. MODIS is able to map rapid changes in surface reflectance, an indication that areas have been burned.

…Yu says that the new nonagricultural-emissions data could be used in research on climate change and the atmospheric environment for recent open fire activities in Asia…..

Fires on Borneo and Sumatra, viewed by satellite in 2006

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