The Hungry Caterpillar – Catching Fire: VIIRS Forest Disturbance Detection

Project Team: U.S. Disasters and Ecological Forecasting Team
Team Location: Stennis Space Center, Stennis, Mississippi


2013 California Rim Fire - MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) pre-fire and VIIRS NDVI post-fire, which clearly shows the affected area.

2013 California Rim Fire – MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) pre-fire and VIIRS NDVI post-fire, which clearly shows the affected area.



Authors:
Jamie Thompson (University of Southern Mississippi)
Brittany Howell (University of Southern Mississippi)
Alyssa Pourmonir (State University of New York Maritime)
Timothy Sutherlin (University of Southern Mississippi)
Heather Nicholson (University of Southern Mississippi)


Mentors/Advisors:
Joseph Spruce (Senior Research Scientist, Computer Sciences Corporation; Science Advisor)


Past/Other Contributors:
Southeast Agriculture Team (Mobile County Health Department DEVELOP, Summer 2013)


Abstract:
Numerous biotic (e.g., caterpillars, beetles, and diseases) and abiotic (e.g., droughts,
fires, and tornadoes) factors threaten forested lands all over the world. Although these threats can never be completely removed, detecting and evaluating them during early stages of impact is critical to an effective mitigation strategy. Thus, forest managers require accurate and timely forest monitoring and assessment tools. For years, data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors on board the Aqua and Terra platforms have played a pivotal role in meeting this need. Online tools such as ForWarn are designed to meet this need by using satellite-based vegetation change recognition and tracking. ForWarn currently uses MODIS data products to detect disturbances by calculating the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and calculating change product over selected years. However, with existing MODIS sensors now operating well beyond their six-year design life span, it is essential that new methods are rapidly developed utilizing data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor, on board the Suomi NPP satellite. This will ensure uninterrupted decision support to forest resource managers and enable ForWarn to further assess integrating the use of VIIRS into the ForWarn Forest Change Assessment Viewer.



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