German System Detect More Fire Under Haze Blanket

German System Detect More Fire Under Haze Blanket

04 November 2015

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Indonesia/Germany–   A German team of researchers said they have detected more hotspots during thick haze days than was recently reported.

“We have found new information not yet known in Indonesia and very important to explain the haze,” Florian Siegert, an expert from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University told Tempo on Wednesday, November 4.

A team from the GeoBio Center of Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) based in Munich, the Germany national aeronautics and space research centre DLR and a remote sensing services company RSS GmbH said they were able to detect active fires despite thick haze.

The forest and land fires that occurred in several islands, including Sumatra and Kalimantan, have caused haze that has also spread to other neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Several countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, have assisted Indonesia by deploying water bombing air planes in several hotspots in Sumatra Island.

The number of fire hotspots that were reported on a daily basis by official sources at the Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and other agencies were based on fire detections derived from NASA’s two MODIS satellites Aqua and Terra.

Hotspots represent active fires at the center of a 1km pixel containing one or more fires within the pixel. Due to the sensitivity and the low spatial resolution of the thermal sensor, the satellites only detected fires from flaming vegetation covering at least 200 square meters.

Thick haze and low energy from smoldering peat fires may not be recorded by the MODIS satellites and result in underestimation of fire events and subsequent emission estimates, the research team said in their report.

The German fire detection system TET-1 is able to detect active fires despite thick haze. TET- 1 is a German technology demonstration microsatellite of the German Space Agency DLR, which compared to the MODIS instruments acquires data in the thermal infrared with a much higher spatial resolution of 200 meters and an improved sensitivity.

At the end of September, a total of 147 companies were accused investigated for burning forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Most were investigated by the Ministry of Environment, and a small number were findings of the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture teams.

The Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya said she will sanction four companies by revoking and freezing their licenses. “They have utilization of forest products permits,” she said on Monday, September 28.

According to Siti, most of these companies are oil palm, rubber, and acacia plantations.

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