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Kuenzer, C, Hecker, C, Zhang, J, Wessling, S, Wagner, W (2008). The potential of multidiurnal MODIS thermal band data for coal fire detection. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 29(3), 923-944.

In this paper we present the results of our analyses of multidiurnal low-resolution Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) thermal data for coal fire-related thermal anomaly detection. Results are presented for data of the Jharia coal mining region of India. We combine three relatively new approaches: first, we use low-resolution MODIS data for coal fire area analyses, which has only been undertaken by a few authors. Second, we analyse data from four different times of day (morning, afternoon, evening and predawn) and for three different bands (MODIS bands 20, 32 and a ratio thereof); and third, we use an unbiased automated algorithm for thermal anomaly extraction of local thermal anomalies. The MODIS data analysed stem from the years 2001 and 2005. In 2001, MODIS data were only been available from the platform TERRA as morning and evening data (around 1030 and 2200h). In 2005, MODIS data were available from this platform as well as from the platform AQUA as afternoon and predawn data (around 0130 and 0200h). Our analyses indicate that MODIS multidiurnal data, and especially bands 20, 32 and ratio bands thereof, have a high potential for the detection of coal fire zones and coal fire hot spot zones, as well as for regular thermal monitoring activities. However, the data are not suitable for a quantitative coal fire analysis concerning fire outline, fire temperature or fire classification into surface and subsurface fires. We used higher-resolution ASTER and LANDSAT data from 2005 and 2002 for general orientation and later comparison of thermal anomaly extraction results. We also used high-resolution Quickbird data for the characterization of individual anomalous thermal clusters. Comparisons demonstrate that even low-resolution thermal sensors such as MODIS can support coal fire detection and zonation into warm and very hot zones.



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