News from Fire Research: IGBP/IGAC: BIBEX Steering Commiteee Meeting (IFFN No. 19 – September 1998)


BIBEX Steering Commiteee Meeting

(IFFN No. 19 – September 1998,p. 84-87)

Between 19 and 25 August 1998 an International Symposium on Global Atmospheric Chemistry was held in Seattle (USA), jointly organized by the IAMAS Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution (CACGP) and the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project (IGAC), a core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). One of the activities of the IGAC Focus 2 (“Natural Variability and Anthropgenic Perturbations of the Tropical Atmospheric Chemistry”) is Biomass Burnig Experiment (BIBEX) which is co-sponsor of International Forest Fire News.

The Joint Symposium provided the platform for several sessions on “Human Impacts” in which a series of papers and posters were presented on the effect of vegetation burning on the regional and global atmosphere. The symposium provided the opportunity for a BIBEX Steering Committee meeting which was held on 22 August 1998 at the conference site on the campus of the University of Washington, Seattle.

Minutes of the BIBEX Steering Committee Meeting

After the opening of the meeting by M.O.Andreae, convener of BIBEX, steering committee members and guests reported about the state of fire and fire-related research campaigns:

The Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA-CLAIRE)

M.O.Andreae reported the first results of CLAIRE, the 1998 campaign of the Cooperative LBA Airborne Regional Experiment (LBA = Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia; see IFFN August 1996, pp. 53-54 and which was conducted in March-April 1998. CLAIRE aims to develop an integrated and quantitative understanding of the interactions of biogenic source fluxes, atmospheric transport and vertical exchange, and photochemical processing over the tropical forest. LBA/CLAIRE is a biogenic/biospheric experiment with a fire research component in which the influence of extra-regional fire emissions imported into the study area is investigated. For more details on the fire component: See contribution by Grégoire et al. in this volume. The CLAIRE website is

The International Crown Fire Modelling Experiment

B.J.Stocks reported about the 1998 field phase of the International Crwon Fire Modeling Experiment which was implemented in June/July 1998 (for an introduction: see IFFN August 1996, pp.54-58; for details See <>.

The African Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative (AFARI-97)

J.G.Goldammer and B.J.Stocks reported about the field implementation of the campaign which aimed to investigate the the ecological and atmospheric chemical impacts of fire in the East African grasslands which – in contrast to the Southern African savannas – are fertile and rich in protein (nitrogen) content. AFARI-97 was conducted in two sites in Kenya in late September and early October 1997 (Lewa Downs Ranch in the Isiolo district immediately north of Mount Kenya and Hopcraft Ranch on the Athi Kapiti Plains 40 km south of Nairobi). The size of experimental burns ranged between 50-200 hectares. Ground measurements included standard botanical and fuel inventories (before and after the burns), fire behaviour, and meteorological data. The airborne component concentrated on aerosol sampling. Most of the experimental burns were coordinated with satellite measurements for validation purposes. The fires were described in detail on the ground and from small aircraft during the overpass of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on the NOAA weather satellite (see IFFN January 1998, pp.91-92). In the BIBEX discussion R.Swap recommended coordination of AFARAI-97 follow-up with the Miombo network.

The Zambian International Biomass Burning Emissions Experiment (ZIBBEE)

D.Ward reported on the still ongoing (1997-98) research campaign in Zambia. The ZIBBEE experiment was organized in cooperation with the US Forest Service Fire Chemistry Laboratory, the Zambian Meteorology Department and NASA’s AERONET and EOS-DIS program with the primary objectives to quantify the aerosol and trace gas fluxes from the Miombo woodlands of southern Africa. Embedded within this study are objectives to quantify the consumption of biomass (carbon) from biomass burning, validation of aerosol retrievals from various satellite sensors, and direct radiative forcing by biomass burning aerosols (see IFFN January 1998, pp.92-93). Contact: Darold Ward


B.J.Stocks reports about FROSTFIRE. Co-sponsored by the IBFRA Fire Working Group, this experiment will involve conducting a high-intensity 700 hectare prescribed fire on a catchment of the Caribou-Poker Creek Experimental Watershed just north of Fairbanks, Alaska. This catchment consists of steep north-facing slopes dominated by Picea underlain by permafrost, and steep south-facing slopes where Betula predominates. Hydrological measurements have been conducted at this site for decades, and will be continued after the fire as part of a suite of fire impact studies which will include detailed fire ecology and effects investigations. Thorough fuels and fire behaviour documentation will permit linkages between fire behaviour (fuel consumption/intensity) and postfire impacts. This will be a long-term study, closely linked with the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program in the United States. The burn had been scheduled for summer 1998 but had to be postponed to 1999 due to unfavourable weather conditions. For more information:

SEAFIRE and related expeeriments in SE Asia

J.G.Goldammer reports about the South East Asian Fire Experiment (SEAFIRE) which has not yet materialized in a larger coordinated fire research campaign. SEAFIRE is rather aiming to provide a networking platform for ground and airborne fire research in the region. SEAFIRE has supported the government of Indonesia in establishing the Indonesian Research Institute for Climate, Environment and Society (INRICES) which was founded during the peak of the SE Asian smoke episode in November 1997. In the context of SEAFIRE a series of projects in remote sensing and ground truthing of fire and fire impacts are being conducted (see various contributions in this issue of IFFN). It is currently envisaged to propose a small research program under the the Asia-Pacific Network (APN) devoted to investigate the emissions of rice field burning and their impacfts on cloud formation processes. The project will be conducted jointly between the US Forest Service, the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, with partner focus in Thailand which may provide a King Air research planes; collaboration with CSIRO is envisaged (I.Galbally).

The Fire Research Campaign Asia-North (FIRESCAN)

J.G.Goldammer and B.J.Stocks reported about the recent development of the fire research component in the frame of the IGBP Northern Eurasia Study (IGBP-NES) transects along the Lena and the Yenissei rivers. Current research focus is on post-fire flux studies on sites nearby the FIRESCAN Bor Forest Island Fire Experiment of 1993 (Bor, Krasnoyarsk region).


SAFARI 2000 is an international regional science initiative being developed to explore, study and address linkages between land-atmosphere processes and the relationship of biogenic, pyrogenic or anthropogenic emissions and the consequences of their deposition to the functioning of the biogeophysical and biogeochemical systems of southern Africa. This initiative is being built around a number of on-going, already funded activities by NASA, the international community and African nations in the southern African region.

Much like its predecessor SAFARI-92, SAFARI-2000 is more a confederation of affiliated regional and global environmental change research efforts that have secured their own funding and are currently underway or will be underway soon within southern Africa, rather than a specific, funded program. SAFARI 2000 will include the following science components: terrestrial ecosystem and biogeochemical modeling; land cover and land use change mapping; monitoring and modeling; fire disturbance studies; quantification of biomass burning emissions and emissions transport modeling; aerosol characterization and monitoring; atmospheric chemistry; and modeling and atmospheric deposition experiments.

Satellite product validation will be undertaken in the science context of these components providing validated data products as input to the above studies.

SAFARI 2000 will be conducted over a three year period starting in 1999 with field campaigns during 1999 and 2000. A synthesis product of results available in early 2001. SAFARI 2000 will add scientific value by enabling the synthesis, coordination and beginning of budget closure between these different activities within the region that will ultimately provide a contribution to a regional science assessment of global change.

NASA, through its Research and Applications (R and A) Program, EOS instrument teams and EOS Validation activities, is supporting on-going research efforts within the southern African region. In addition to NASAs African scientific collaborators, scientists from South Africa are currently securing funds through their national science foundation to support their involvement. The international regional science networks developed through IGBP and START within the region will participate in the initiative and will be the mechanism for broader African scientific involvement.

The first of SAFARI-2000 science planning workshops was held in Blydepoort, South Africa (11-17 July 1998). Bob Swap reported about the priority research objectives elaborated by the workshop participants, all mainly devoted to understand the linkages between physical, chemical and biological processes. Contact: B.Swap

Remote sensing programs

P.M.Barbosa reported about the state of the World Fire Web which is being built at present by the Joint Research Center (JRC). The Web will consist of a network of nodes which receive and interpret fire information derived from the NOAA AVHRR.

The Global Fire Product is another activity of the JRC. In 1991, following a workshop on the requirements for terrestrial biospheric data sets and in response to requirements from the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) core projects, IGBP-DIS set up the Fire Working Group (FWG) to develop a consensus algorithm for global fire mapping. From this was born the concept of a Global Fire Product (GFP). This would be based on the use of an active fire detection algorithm and the global daily Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data being collected by the IGBP-DIS 1 km AVHRR Global Land Project. A consensus algorithm was developed and approved by the FWG in 1996. Data processing was initiated at the JRC in 1996, and completed in November 1997. (For more details: see contribution by Dwyer et al., this volume of IFFN.)

Y.Kaufmann reports on the state of MODIS. J.G.Goldammer reports on the state of progress of the fire sensors development by the DLR: the BIRD satellite and the FOCUS instrument (to be deployed on the International Space Station).

Fire information systems and inventories

J.G.Goldammer reports about the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) which is in its establishment phase between June and December 1998. The first phase will be tested at regional base in South East Asia, and it will be expanded gradually to global scale. The GFMC is located at the Fire Ecology and Biomass Burning Research Group of the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, Germany, at Freiburg University Airport Campus. The GFMC is financed by the government of Germany as a contribution to the UN International Decade for Natural Hazard Reduction (IDNDR). Following the principles which were developed for a scientific Global Vegetation Fire Information System, the Global Fire Monitoring Center will integrate the archived and real-time information related to fire. This will include the interlinking with other national, regional and international information systems. It is expected that the GFMC will be on the Internet by September/October 1998 (see Editorial of this issue of IFFN). Starting with the July-1998 issue International Forest Fire News (which is the official newsletter for the fire research groups of IGAC/BIBEX, IBFRA, IUFRO and the IDNDR) will be posted on the GFMC internet site.

The Global Vegetation Fire Inventory (GVFI) will be a focus of the GFMC. GVFI also contributes to the biomass bunrning emission component of the Global Emissions Inventory Activity (GEIA). The Ninth International Workshop of GEIA was held at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (USA) 19-20 August 1998, in tandem with the CACGP/IGAC Joint International Symposium on Global Atmospheric Chemistry. B.J.Stocks reported about the state of the Northern Hemisphere fire inventory. The GEIA website is

Partnerships with end-users

The panel discussion of the joint CACGP/IGAC symposium focused on public policy. While more questions were asked at the panel discussion than answers were given, the BIBEX community could look back to a successful involvement with governments and international organizations. The South East Asian fire and smoke episode of 1997-98 required the inputs by the fire science community into activities of various UN agencies and programmes which responded to the fires, particularly the WMO, WHO, FAO, UNEP, and IDNDR. Details are found in the pages of IFFN starting with the January 1998 issue.

BIBEX Business: BIBEX Committee membership and chair

During the closed session of the BIBEX Steering Committee proposed changes to the list of committee members were discussed and agreed upon. Based on a request from the ICAC SSC, the terms of all current BIBEX Committee members were considered to have ended. Some members of the current committee indicated that they would like to terminate their involvement involvement. Four new members were nominated. The proposals for the new composition of the BIBEX Committee will be forwarded to the IGAC SSC for their approval.

M.O.Andreae who served as founding convener of BIBEX since 1990 stepped down. The BIBEX Steering Committee members expressed their gratitude for his engagement over the years.

The committee followed the suggestion of M.O.Andreae to nominate two co-conveners to lead the BIBEX activities into a new direction (nomination to be confirmed by the IGAC SSC). Under the impression that biomass burning emissions chemistry and related atmospheric chemistry processes have been successfully explored during the lifetime of BIBEX, it was agreed that the future emphasis of BIBEX should be in the field of fire inventories (including remote sensing of fires), fire ecology, and global fire modelling.

BIBEX contact:

24776 Byte

Johann Georg Goldammer
Fire Ecology Research Group
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
c/o Freiburg University
D – 79085 Freiburg GERMANY

Fax: ++49-761-80 80 12
Tel: ++49-761-80 80 11


IFFN No. 19


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