International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire

Global assessment of the temporal reporting accuracy and precision of the MODIS burned area product

Luigi Boschetti A D , David P. Roy B , Christopher O. Justice A and Louis Giglio C

A Department of Geography, University of Maryland, 2181 LeFrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA.

B Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence, South Dakota State University, Wecota Hall, Box 506B, Brookings, SD 57007, USA.

C Science Systems and Applications Incorporated, Lanham, MD 20706, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email:

International Journal of Wildland Fire 19(6) 705-709
Submitted: 1 December 2009  Accepted: 22 February 2010   Published: 17 September 2010


A method for the systematic evaluation of the temporal reporting accuracy and precision of burned area products conducted using active fire detections as the reference dataset is described. The method is applied globally to 6 years of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) burned area and active fire product data. The distribution of the time difference between active fire and burned area detections that occur within 90 days is analysed and summary statistics extracted globally. The median time difference in reporting between the MODIS burned area and the active fire product detections is 1 day and the majority of MODIS burned area product detections occur temporally close to an active fire detection: 50% within a single day and 75% within 4 days. Users of the MODIS burned area product with temporal reporting requirements should be aware of these findings if using the approximate day of burning information provided in the burned area product.


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