Biomass burning substantially contributes to atmospheric aerosol and greenhouse gas emissions that influence climate and air quality. Fire radiative energy (FRE) (units: MJ) has been demonstrated to be linearly related to biomass consumption (units: kg) with potential for improving biomass burning emission estimation. The scalar constant, termed herein as the FRE biomass combustion coefficient (FBCC) (units: kg/MJ), which converts FRE to biomass consumption, has been estimated using field and laboratory experiments, varying from 0.368 to 0.453 kg/MJ. However, quite different FBCC values, especially for satellite‐based approaches, have been reported. This study investigated the FBCC with respect to 445 wildfires that occurred from 2011 to 2012 across the Conterminous United States (CONUS) considering both polar‐orbiting and geostationary satellite data. The FBCC was derived by comparing satellite FRE estimates with biomass consumption for the CONUS. FRE was estimated using observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES); biomass consumption was estimated using Landsat‐derived burned areas with fuel loadings from the Fuel Characteristic Classification System and using combustion completeness parameterized by Landsat burn severity and Fuel Characteristic Classification System fuelbed type. The reported results confirm the linearity of the empirical relationship between FRE and biomass consumption for wildfires. The CONUS FBCC was 0.374 kg/MJ for GOES FRE, 0.266 kg/MJ for MODIS FRE, and 0.320 kg/MJ considering both GOES and MODIS FRE. Limited sensitivity analyses, comparing MODIS and GOES FRE with biomass consumption estimated in three different ways, indicated that the FBCC varied from 0.301 to 0.458 kg/MJ.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;
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