GFMC AND THE OUTER SPACE

GFMC Contributions and Support to Earth Observation of Landscape Fires

Since the 1990s, GFMC has supported the development, test, calibration and validation of satellite sensors and photographic Earth Observation from Space Shuttle missions. Instrument tests included sensors for ground-based fire and fire-smoke detection systems.

The first steps in the 1990s and early 2000s

In 1994-1995, the GFMC (through its predecessor institution Fire Ecology Working Group) supported the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in carrying out the development project FIRES (FIre REcognition Satellite System).

First tests for calibration and validation of sensors for space-based detection and characterization of landscape fires: Geometrically defined fires in open land and under the canopy of a pine forest in Breisach Forest District near Freiburg, Germany. The instruments were flown by a Do-228-212 of the German Aerospace Center operating out of Freiburg airfield in 1995. The successfully calibrated instrument was launched by the Mars 96 mission. However, the Russian spacecraft got lost. © Photos: GFMC archive.

Preparation and execution of a large forest fire experiment in Brandenburg State (Germany) in August 2001. Objective: Calibration of the satellite sensors, which were launched into orbit a few weeks later with the small satellite BIRD (Bispectral InfraRed Detection) and provided data until 2004 that enabled the further development of spaceborne observation instruments. Picture below left: Symbolic representation of the fire observation satellites BIROS (front) and TET-1 (back), which have been flying in the FireBIRD mission since 2016 in a mini-constellation on two spatially offset sun-synchronous orbits. This mission is described in the FireBIRD brochure. © Photos and satellite data: DLR and GFMC.

BIRD Small Satellite Mission Flyers:

In a follow-up series of experiments in Brandenburg State (Germany) in July 2003, the sensors on board of BIRD were tested again. A few days later, on 4 August 2003, information on the location and intensity of landscape fires was sent to the Portuguese authorities. This contributed to decision support for prioritizing fire suppression. © Photos and satellite data: DLR and GFMC.

Peat fires and coal seam fires in Indonesia are predominantly burning sub-surface. In May 2002, radiative power is detected by BIRD – as documented in GFMC Working Paper 2002/1 (cf. below – Briess et al. 1997). © Photos and satellite data: DLR and GFMC.

Automated fire smoke detection systems, which had been developed by DLR, were calibrated and improved during the Brandenburg State (Germany) in August 2001, followed by commercial application in Germany since then. © Photos: DLR and GFMC.

Follow-up: The FireSense Project

On 23 March 2019, a prescribed burn in Zschornoer Wald Nature Reserve was conducted on a conservation site belonging to the Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) Naturerbe (German Federal Environment Foundation – Natural Heritage) – a former military shooting range (aerial bombing range). The aim of the prescribed burn was to regenerate overaged Calluna vulgaris heather, implemented by the Federal Forest Service Enterprise Lausitz in cooperation with GFMC and partners. The prescribed burn operation was associated with the FireSense Experiment. The experiment included real-time observation and characterization of fire behavior – with simultaneous testing of ground-based, aerial (drone and aircraft) and satellite (multi-sensor) observation from space.

This experiment aimed at developing improved algorithms and products for the quantitative assessments of landscape fires and their emissions of trace gases and aerosols or validation and calibration of satellite by testing polar-orbiting satellites accompanied with fixed-wing aircraft and UAV. For details see GFMC FireSense website.

Global Observations of Forest Cover and Land-use Dynamics (GOFC–GOLD)

Between 2002 and 2016, the GFMC Director served as Co-Chair, Forest Fire Monitoring and Mapping Implementation Team, Global Observation of the Forest Cover (GOFC) program of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) – alternate Co-Chair: Christopher O. Justice, University of Maryland, USA.

The GOFC/GOLD-Fire Mapping and Monitoring Theme is aimed at refining and articulating the international observation requirements and making the best possible use of fire products from the existing and future satellite observing systems, for fire management, policy decision-making and global change research.

  • Ahern, F., J.G. Goldammer, and C. Justice (eds.). 2001. Global and regional vegetation fire monitoring from space: Planning a coordinated international effort. SPB Academic Publishing bv, The Hague, The Netherlands, 302 p.Table of contents (PDF, 0.6 MB), Available now through Kugler Publications.

Websites and Online Information of DLR, GFMC and partners

GFMC and UN Office for Outer Space Affairs

The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is the Secretariat for the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), a specialized committee of the UN General Assembly. The OOSA website provides background papers of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) which includes a report on Disaster Prediction, Warning and Mitigation (A/CONF.184/BP/2).

At the Forty-fourth session of the COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (Vienna, 12-23 February 2007) a special session “Space-system-based disaster management support” included a presentation of GFMC:

GFMC Cooperation with NASA Space Shuttle Missions

Space Transportation System 60 (STS60) (Commander: Charles F. Bolden Jr.) was the first mission of the U.S. / Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, which carried Sergei K. Krikalev, the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard a Space Shuttle. The mission used NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, which lifted off from Launch Pad 39A on 3 February 1994, from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The mission carried the Wake Shield Facility experiment and a SPACEHAB module, developed by SPACEHAB Inc., into orbit, and carried out a live bi-directional audio and downlink link-up with the cosmonauts aboard the Russian space station Mir.

For the first time in the Shuttle program, there was a true international partnership for Earth observations. The photographs taken by the mission aimed at monitoring changes around the world. After return of the mission on 11 February 1994, a Debriefing of the Crew took place at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Huston / Texas on 7 March 1994. GFMC took over the role of debriefing / interpreting STS-60 observations of forests and vegetation fires around the world.

STS-69 Crew photo dedicated to GFMC – clockwise from bottom left: Kenneth S. Reightler Jr., Franklin R. Chang-Díaz, Ronald M. Sega, Sergei K. Krikalev, N. Jan Davis, Charles F. Bolden Jr.

Crew Incentive Program / Debriefing of STS-60 Crew hosted by Captain (German Navy) Johann G. Goldammer, from left: Sergei K. Krikalev, Johann G. Goldammer, Charles F. Bolden Jr., Ronald M. Sega, with Earth greetings (beer keg) of Rothaus Brewery (Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus), Black Forest, Germany, that was spotted by STS-60 from space.

In following up STS-60, the preceding STS-61 mission (2-13 December 1993) was evaluated, resulting in the following publication:

STS-61 Crew photo dedicated to GFMC – Standing (from left): Richard O. Covey, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Thomas Akers; seated (from left): Ken Bowersox, Kathryn C. Thornton, Story Musgrave and Claude Nicollier.

Related Publications of DLR, NASA, GFMC and Partners

Note: References are listed in time sequence, starting 1995:

B.J. Stocks, G.N. Korovin, A. Sukhinin, D.R. Cahoon, and J.G. Goldammer. 1995. Forest fire occurrence in Russia and Canada: Ground, aerial, and satellite measurements. IUFRO XX World Congress, Tampere, Finland, 6-12 August 1995. Abstract Vol., p.87.

Goldammer, J.G., J.L. Pfund, M.R. Helfert, K.P. Lulla, and STS-61 Mission Crew. 1996. Use of the Earth Observation System in the Space Shuttle Program for Research and Documentation of Global Vegetation Fires: A Case Study from Madagascar. In: Biomass burning and global change. Vol. I (J.S. Levine, ed.), 236-240. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Briess, K., H. Jahn, and H.P. Röser. 1997. BIRD – A DLR Small Satellite Mission for the Investigation of Vegetation Fires and Vegetation Condition. Int. Forest Fire News (IFFN) No. 16 (January 1997), 40-44.

Cahoon, D.R., B.J. Stocks, M.E. Alexander, B.A. Baum, and J.G. Goldammer. 2000. Wildland fire detection from space: theory and application. In: Biomass Burning and its Interrelationships with the Climate System (J. Innes et al., eds.), 151-169. Kluwer Acad. Publ.

Oertel, D., P. Haschberger, V. Tank, F. Schreier, B. Schimpf, B. Zhukov, K. Briess, H.-P. Röser, E. Lorenz, W. Skrbek, J.G. Goldammer, C. Tobehn, A. Ginati, and U. Christmann. 2000. Two dedicated spaceborne fire missions. In: Proc. Joint Fire Science Conference and Workshop, Boise, Idaho, USA, 15-17 June 1999, Vol. I, p. 254-261. Published by the University of Idaho and the International Association of Wildland Fire.

Goldammer, J.G., and P. Frost. 2000. Towards a global system for forest fire monitoring and mapping: Breakout recommendations and priorities. In: Forest Fire Monitoring and Mapping: A Component of Global Observation of Forest Cover. Report of a Workshop (F. Ahern, J.-M. Grégoire, and C. Justice, eds.), 37-41. Eur. Comm. Joint Res. Center EUR 19588EN, 253 p.

Stocks, B.J., J.G. Goldammer, D.R. Cahoon, and P. Frost. 2000. Global fire monitoring: International policy requirements. In: Forest Fire Monitoring and Mapping: A Component of Global Observation of Forest Cover. Report of a Workshop (F. Ahern, J.-M. Grégoire, and C. Justice, eds.), 79-84. Eur. Comm. Joint Res. Center EUR 19588EN, 253 p.

Goldammer, J.G. 2000. Current state and future role of synthesis initiatives. In: Forest Fire Monitoring and Mapping: A Component of Global Observation of Forest Cover. Report of a Workshop (F. Ahern, J.-M. Grégoire, and C. Justice, eds.), 152-158. Eur. Comm. Joint Res. Center EUR 19588EN, 253 p.

Ahern, F., J.G. Goldammer, and C. Justice (eds.). 2001. Global and regional vegetation fire monitoring from space: Planning a coordinated international effort. SPB Academic Publishing bv, The Hague, The Netherlands, 302 p.

Goldammer, J.G. 2001. Current state of synthesis initiatives in global vegetation fire monitoring. In: Global and regional vegetation fire monitoring from space: Planning a coordinated international effort (F. Ahern, J.G. Goldammer, and C. Justice, eds.), 71-103. SPB Academic Publishing bv, The Hague, The Netherlands, 302 p.

Stocks, B.J., J.G. Goldammer, P.G.H. Frost, and D.R. Cahoon. 2001. Towards the development of an informed global policy on vegetation fires: what role for remote sensing? In: Global and regional vegetation fire monitoring from space: Planning a coordinated international effort (F. Ahern, J.G. Goldammer, and C. Justice, eds.), 35-46. SPB Academic Publishing bv, The Hague, The Netherlands, 302 p.

Ahern, F.J., A.S. Belward, C.D. Elvidge, J.G. Goldammer, J.-M. Grégoire, C.O. Justice, J. Pereira, E.M. Prins, B.J. Stocks. 2001. The Fire Component of Global Observation of Forest Cover: a Plan of Action. In: Global and regional vegetation fire monitoring from space: Planning a coordinated international effort (F. Ahern, J.G. Goldammer, and C. Justice, eds.), 267-290. SPB Academic Publishing bv, The Hague, The Netherlands, 302 p.

Oertel, D., K. Briess, W. Halle, M. Neidhardt, E. Lorenz, R. Sandau, F. Schrandt, W. Skrbek, H. Venus, I. Walter, B. Zender, B. Zhukov, J.G. Goldammer, A.C. Held, M. Hille, and H. Brueggemann. 2002. Airborne forest fire mapping with an adaptive infrared sensor. Int. J. Remote Sensing 24, 3663-3682.

Zhukov, B., D. Oertel and J.G. Goldammer. 2002. BIRD Detection of Coal Seam Fires in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) Working Paper 1 / 2002 (PDF, 0.8 MB)

Goldammer, J.G., A.C. Held, M. Hille, K.-P. Wittich, E. Kuehrt, N. Koutsias, D. Oertel, K. Thonicke, and W. Cramer. 2003. Early Warning, Monitoring, Information Management and Simulation of Forest Fires: Results of the Research Cluster Forest Fire within the German Research Network for Disaster Reduction. 4. Forum Katastrophenvorsorge, Deutsches Komitee für Katastrophenvorsorge (DKKV), Extended Abstracts, 5-7. DKKV, Bonn.

Huang, S., F. Siegert, J.G. Goldammer, and A.I. Sukhinin. 2009. Satellite-derived 2003 wildfires in southern Siberia and their potential influence on carbon sequestration. International Journal of Remote Sensing 30, 1479-1492. doi: 10.1080/01431160802541549. ISSN 0143-1161 print/ISSN 1366-5901.

Mallinis, G., I. Mitsopoulos, E. Beltran, and J.G. Goldammer. 2016. Assessing wildfire risk in cultural heritage properties using satellite imagery and spatially explicit fire simulations: The Case of Holy Mount Athos, Greece. Forests 7 (46), 1-19. ISSN 1999-4907. doi:10.3390/f7020046.

Myroniuk, V., S. Zibtsev, V. Bogomolov, J.G. Goldammer, O. Soshenskyi, V. Levchenko, M. Matsala. 2023. Combining Landsat time series and GEDI data for improved characterization of fuel types and canopy metrics in wildfire simulation. J. Env. Management 345, 118736. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118736

Related

Since 2019, GFMC – in honorary role – supported the start-up OroraTech. The company, growing since then, offers the global wildfire intelligence solution, including risk assessment, early detection, real-time monitoring, and damage analysis with data from 20+ satellites (Status: December 2023).

OroraTech website: https://ororatech.com/wildfire-solution/

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