Reconstructing satellite images to quantify spatially explicit land surface change caused by fires and succession: A demonstration in the Yukon River Basin of interior Alaska

ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Land surface change caused by fires and succession is confounded by many site-specific factors and requires further study. The objective of this study was to reveal the spatially explicit land surface change by minimizing the confounding factors of weather variability, seasonal offset, topography, land cover, and drainage. In a pilot study of the Yukon River Basin of interior Alaska, we retrieved Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), albedo, and land surface temperature (LST) from a postfire Landsat image acquired on August 5th, 2004. With a Landsat reference image acquired on June 26th, 1986, we reconstructed NDVI, albedo, and LST of 1987–2004 fire scars for August 5th, 2004, assuming that these fires had not occurred. The difference between actual postfire and assuming-no-fire scenarios depicted the fires and succession impact. Our results demonstrated the following: (1) NDVI showed an immediate decrease after burning but gradually recovered to prefire levels in the following years, in which burn severity might play an important role during this process; (2) Albedo showed an immediate decrease after burning but then recovered and became higher than prefire levels; and (3) Most fires caused surface warming, but cooler surfaces did exist; time-since-fire affected the prefire and postfire LST difference but no absolute trend could be found. Our approach provided spatially explicit land surface change rather than average condition, enabling a better understanding of fires and succession impact on ecological consequences at the pixel level.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Reconstructing satellite images to quantify spatially explicit land surface change caused by fires and succession: A demonstration in the Yukon River Basin of interior Alaska
Series title ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
DOI 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2013.02.010
Volume 79
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 12 p.
First page 94
Last page 105