Assessing the accuracy of remotely sensed fire datasets across the southwestern Mediterranean Basin
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Recently, many remote-sensing datasets providing features of individual fire events from gridded global burned area products have been released. Although very promising, these datasets still lack a quantitative estimate of their accuracy with respect to historical ground-based fire datasets. Here, we compared three state-of-the-art remote-sensing datasets (RSDs; Fire Atlas, FRY, and GlobFire) with a harmonized ground-based dataset (GBD) compiled by fire agencies monitoring systems across the southwestern Mediterranean Basin (2005–2015). We assessed the agreement between the RSDs and the GBD with respect to both burned area (BA) and number of fires (NF). RSDs and the GBD were aggregated at monthly and 0.25∘ resolutions, considering different individual fire size thresholds ranging from 1 to 500 ha. Our results show that all datasets were highly correlated in terms of monthly BA and NF, but RSDs severely underestimated both (by 38 % and 96 %, respectively) when considering all fires > 1 ha. The agreement between RSDs and the GBD was strongly dependent on individual fire size and strengthened when increasing the fire size threshold, with fires > 100 ha denoting a higher correlation and much lower error (BA 10 %; NF 35 %). The agreement was also higher during the warm season (May to October) in particular across the regions with greater fire activity such as the northern Iberian Peninsula. The Fire Atlas displayed a slightly better performance with a lower relative error, although uncertainty in the gridded BA product largely outpaced uncertainties across the RSDs. Overall, our findings suggest a reasonable agreement between RSDs and the GBD for fires larger than 100 ha, but care is needed when examining smaller fires at regional scales.
Is part ofNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2021, vol. 21, núm. 1, p. 73-86
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