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VAWS: VIIRS Imagery Applications for Fire Weather Monitoring

April 12, 2017 @ 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm AKDT

Speaker: Curtis J. Seaman, CIRA, Colorado State University

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite has been producing high-quality imagery since its launch in October 2011.

Additional VIIRS instruments will be launched on subsequent JPSS satellites (1-4). The 22 bands on VIIRS include 5 high-resolution imagery channels (~375 m resolution at nadir), 16 moderate resolution channels (~750 m resolution), and the Day/Night Band (~742 m resolution), which collectively range in wavelength from 0.412 μm to 12.01 μm.

These channels offer a wide range of imagery applications that are useful for monitoring the fire weather environment. For example, VIIRS has 5 bands in the near and shortwave IR that useful for detecting hot spots. The Day/Night Band is sensitive to the light emissions from fires at night, as well as the smoke (given sufficient moonlight).

In addition to these individual VIIRS bands, there are many multispectral applications including red-green-blue (RGB) composites of these channels that are useful for detecting fires, smoke, vegetation health, snow and ice coverage, and even flooding.

Specific RGB applications include:

  • True Color for detecting/monitoring smoke;
  • Natural Color for detecting snow cover, vegetation health and burn scars;
  • the Fire Temperature RGB composite for monitoring fire activity; and
  • the Snow/Cloud Discriminator product, which utilizes the Day/Night Band to improve the discrimination of snow and clouds at night.

An introduction to these RGB composites and an overview of these applications will be discussed.