Spatial Variations in Vegetation Fires and Carbon Monoxide Concentrations in South Asia

  • Krishna Prasad Vadrevu
  • Kristofer Lasko
  • Chris Justice
Part of the Society of Earth Scientists Series book series (SESS)


Vegetation fires are an important source of air pollution in several regions of the world including Asia. An important question with respect to satellite retrievals of air pollutants is “how well do they capture temporal and spatial variations and how well do they relate to episodic events such as fires?” We addressed this question using MOPITT surface CO and MODIS fire retrievals. We also evaluated MODIS aerosol optical depth (AOD) as well as small mode aerosol fraction (SMAF) variations in relation to fire seasonality. Results from temporal analysis (2003–2012) of fires in Asia suggested 22 % of all fires occurring in Myanmar, followed by India (20.91 %), Indonesia (18.31 %), Thailand (9.42 %), etc. Fire frequencies were highest in northeast India and Southeast Asia countries. Further, we observed significant spatial variation and seasonality in fires in Southeast Asia. In the northern Southeast Asia, the peak fire season was during January–March whereas in the south, the fires peak is from August through October. AOD followed a similar trend as that of fires, however, small mode aerosol fraction showed some discrepancies. Locally weighted regression yielded good results between vegetation fires and CO emissions. Results showed that areas with high vegetation fires were also areas of high CO emissions, with highest spatial correlation during the month of March. Among the fire counts and FRP, the correlations varied for individual months, however, both showed significant (P < 0.001) positive correlations suggesting that either of them can be used as predictor of CO concentrations. Locally weighted regression maps revealed how the relationship between fire counts versus CO and FRP versus CO change across time and space. The study captures the influence of vegetation fires on CO pollution in Asia using satellite data.


Vegetation fires MODIS MOPITT  Satellites Carbon Monoxide South Asia 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Louis Giglio (UMd) for the MODIS active fire data set and CMG product used in this study. This research was supported by NASA grant NNX10AU77G.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krishna Prasad Vadrevu
    • 1
  • Kristofer Lasko
    • 1
  • Chris Justice
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geographical SciencesUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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