Assessing the potential of MODIS/TERRA acquired thermal imagery in detecting and monitoring coal fires

Research output: Book/ReportReportOther research output


Coal fires are a major problem in many coal producing countries. Remote sensing is an efficient and economic way to detect and monitor those coal fires over large areas. For several years the Landsat group of sensors has given good results for detecting coal fires. Recent problems with Landsat7’s optical system requires the user community to search for alternative sensors. This work looks at the possibilities MODIS images offer in the field of coal fire detection and monitoring for a study area in north-central China. Day and night images of different seasons are compared and various band ratios assessed. The document will show that night images of MODIS scenes can be used to detect coal fires even if the fires are only a fraction of the pixel size in the image. Best results are achieved when ratioing winter night image bands 20 and 32. With two MODIS sensors currently circling the globe, two day and two night images are acquired per day. Compared to other earth observing sensors, where night images are hard to come by, MODIS offers the opportunity to base a whole monitoring programme on night images alone. As MODIS data are available free of charge, MODIS images have a great potential for regular regional monitoring of coal fires even in lesser developed countries.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherInternational Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • ESA
  • ADLIB-BOOK-424


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the potential of MODIS/TERRA acquired thermal imagery in detecting and monitoring coal fires'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this