Rentao Guo, Jilin Yan, He Zheng, Bo Wu

Assessment of the Analytic Burned Area Index for Forest Fire Severity Detection Using Sentinel and Landsat Data

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Safety Research
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Forestry

The quantitative assessment of forest fire severity is significant for understanding the changes in ecological processes caused by fire disturbances. As a novel spectral index derived from the multi-objective optimization algorithm, the Analytic Burned Area Index (ABAI) was originally designed for mapping burned areas. However, the performance of the ABAI in detecting forest fire severity has not been addressed. To fill this gap, this study utilizes a ground-based dataset of fire severity (the composite burn index, CBI) to validate the effectiveness of the ABAI in detecting fire severity. First, the effectiveness of the ABAI regarding forest fire severity was validated using uni-temporal images from Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 OLI. Second, fire severity accuracy derived from the ABAI with bi-temporal images from both sensors was evaluated. Finally, the performance of the ABAI was tested with different sensors and compared with representative spectral indices. The results show that (1) the ABAI demonstrates significant advantages in terms of accuracy and stability in assessing fire severity, particularly in areas with large numbers of terrain shadows and severe burn regions; (2) the ABAI also shows great advantages in assessing regional forest fire severity when using only uni-temporal remotely sensed data, and it performed almost as well as the dNBR in bi-temporal images. (3) The ABAI outperforms commonly used indices with both Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 data, indicating that the ABAI is normally more generalizable and powerful and provides an optional spectral index for fire severity evaluation.

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