Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Greece Suffers More Fires In 2007 Than In Last Decade, Satellites Reveal

Date:
September 3, 2007
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Greece has experienced more wildfire activity this August than other European countries have over the last decade, according to data from ESA satellites. The country is currently battling an outbreak of blazes, which began last Thursday, that have spread across the country killing more than 60 people.

Number of fires occurring monthly for France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece from July 1996 to August 2007. These data are based on results from the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) on ESA’s ERS-2 satellite, launched in 1995, and the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) on ESA’s Envisat satellite, launched in 2002. These twin radiometer sensors work like thermometers in the sky, measuring thermal infrared radiation to take the temperature of Earth's land surfaces. Temperatures exceeding 308º K at night are classed as burning fires.
Credit: ESA

Greece has experienced more wildfire activity this August than other European countries have over the last decade, according to data from ESA satellites. The country is currently battling an outbreak of blazes, which began last Thursday, that have spread across the country killing more than 60 people.

ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat satellites continuously survey fires burning across the Earth’s surface with onboard sensors – the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) and the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) respectively, known as the ATSR Word Fire Atlas, which is available to users online in near-real time.

The ATSR World Fire Atlas is the longest worldwide fire atlas available. Even if the atlas is not supposed to pick up all fires due to satellite overpass constraints and cloud coverage, it is statistically representative from one month to the other and from one year to the other.

Working like thermometers in the sky, the sensors measure thermal infrared radiation to take the temperature of Earth's land surfaces. Temperatures exceeding 308ºK at night are classed as burning fires. Data gathered from July 1996 to 28 August 2007 was used to plot the number of fires occurring monthly and show Greece has had four times the number of fires this August compared to its July and August 1998 records.

Weather conditions, including record summer temperatures and hot dry winds, in 2007 made parts of the Mediterranean – including Greece and southern Italy – a tinderbox, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said.

The ATSR World Fire Atlas provides data approximately six hours after acquisition. All available satellite passes are processed to create the ATSR World Fire Atlas. In addition to maps, the time, date, longitude and latitude of the hot spots are provided. The data are used for research in atmospheric chemistry, land use change, global change ecology, fire prevention and management and meteorology.

Quantifying fires is important for the ongoing study of climate because they have a significant impact on global atmospheric pollution, with biomass burning contributing to the global budgets of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide. The 1998 El Niño, for example, helped encourage fires across Borneo which emitted up to 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, equivalent to Europe's entire carbon emissions that year.

One of the biggest problems during and after fires is obtaining an overall view of the damage and its evolution. With fires visible from space, Earth Observation is also being used to detect and monitor the active spots over affected areas. In October 2000, ESA and the French space agency (CNES) initiated the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, a joint initiative with now ten members, aiming at rapidly tasking Earth Observation satellites and delivering spacemaps to users concerned with emergency response, such as civil protection authorities, anywhere in the world.

Such a capacity can help monitor fire hazard by integrating imagery into geographic information systems used by decision makers and actors in the field. On 29 August, the National Cadastral Organisation of Greece requested support from the International Charter in response to the fire events affecting the country.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Greece Suffers More Fires In 2007 Than In Last Decade, Satellites Reveal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829143607.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2007, September 3). Greece Suffers More Fires In 2007 Than In Last Decade, Satellites Reveal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829143607.htm
European Space Agency. "Greece Suffers More Fires In 2007 Than In Last Decade, Satellites Reveal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829143607.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins