Remote sensing applications of wildland fire and air quality in ChinaThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
As one of the most populous and geographically largest countries, China faces many problems including industrial growth, economic sustainability, food security, climate change, and air pollution. Interwoven with these challenges, wildland fire is one of the natural hazards facing modern China, especially under a changing climate. From a national perspective, wildland fire information is a fundamental and yet challenging prerequisite for understanding forest ecology and hazards in China. In recent years, China has begun to use remote sensing (RS) as a tool for monitoring regional fire hazards, and to a lesser extent, air quality emissions. With the unique features of global coverage, high-resolution, and continuous operation, RS is able to obtain detailed information of fire occurrence, extent, structure, and temporal variation, together with some related fuel properties. Satellite instruments such as the Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) have been used in Chinese field experiments and routine monitoring of wildfires and air quality emissions by scientists of the National Satellite Meteorology Center (NSMC) and Chinese Meteorology Agency (CMA). MODIS applications of fire monitoring have also been done by the Chinese Academy of Forestry Sciences. In addition, Landsat measurements have been used for land cover mapping by the Geography Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, with land cover being used to determine fuel type and loading and to estimate fire emissions. All of these measurements can be useful for both forest management and air quality management in China, especially as air quality concerns and forest fires increase under a warming global climate.