Every year, on average, fires burn an area roughly the size of the European Union. These fires and the damage they cause can be monitored from space.
The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission carries the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer. One of its uses is to locate active fires and assess their radiative power. This data product is expected to be practical applications such as air-quality forecasting in regions where air quality is affected by fires, and for scientific research.
Fires seen during daytime flight. (Kings College London)
To help make sure that the satellite measurements made from space are accurate, scientists make from aircraft carrying special sensors. This involves flying over fires and taking measurements as one of the Sentinel-3 satellites obits above.
To prepare for the field campaign, a UK Twin Otter aircraft operated by the NERC Airborne Research Facility was fitted with multiple infrared imagers, in addition to its normal hyperspectral Fenix visible to shortwave infrared imager and high-resolution photography system.
Test flight. (Kings College London)
In April 2018, it was flown above a large controlled ‘bonfire’ that had bit lit for the experiment. A number of passes were made to check the settings of the infrared ...