Libonati, R, DaCamara, CC, Pereira, JMC, Peres, LF (2010). Retrieving middle-infrared reflectance for burned area mapping in tropical environments using MODIS. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 114(4), 831-843.
The ephemeral character of the radiative signal together with the presence of aerosols imposes severe limitations on the use of classical approaches, e.g. based on red and near-infrared, to discriminate between burned and unburned surfaces in tropical environments. Surface reflectance in the middle-infrared (MIR) has been used to circumvent these difficulties because the signal is virtually unaffected by the presence of aerosols associated to biomass burning. Retrieval of the MIR reflected component from the total signal is, however, a difficult problem because of the presence of a diversity of radiance sources, namely the surface reflected solar irradiance and the surface emitted radiance that may reach comparable magnitude during daytime. The method proposed by Kaufman and Remer (1994) to retrieve surface MIR reflectance presents the advantage of not requiring auxiliary datasets (e.g. atmospheric profiles) nor major computational means (e.g. for solving radiative transfer models). Nevertheless, the method was specifically designed to retrieve MIR reflectance over dense dark forests in the middle latitudes and, as shown in the present study, severe problems may arise when applying it beyond the range of validity, namely for burned area mapping in tropical environments. The present study consists of an assessment of the performance of the method for a wide range of atmospheric, geometric and surface conditions and of the usefulness of extracted surface reflectances for burned area discrimination. Results show that, in the case of tropical environments, there is a significant decrease in performance of the method for high values of land surface temperature, especially when associated with low sun elevation angles. Burned area discrimination is virtually impaired in such conditions, which are often present when using data from instruments on-board polar orbiters, namely MODIS in Aqua and Terra, to map burned surfaces over the Amazon forest and cerrado savanna regions. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.