Global Burnt Area Satellite Products

Global Burnt Areas 2000-2007 (L3JRC product)

A global inventory of burnt area has been done for seven fire seasons (April 2000 to March 2007), at moderate spatial resolution (1km2) and high temporal resolution (daily intervals) from the SPOT VEGETATION Earth Observation system. It is known as the L3JRC product and is the result of a cooperation between the JRC, the University of Leicester (UK), the Université Catholique de Louvain (B) and the Instituto de Investigação Cientifica Tropical (P).

A pre-operational version of L3JRC is available at full resolution in binary and ASCII format in geographic coordinates (lat-lon).

As a first step, the product and the validation results covering the African continent are made available for download and analysis. It will allow the user community to provide comments and suggestions. Other regions of the globe will progressively be relased.

web site for information and download:

Relevant publications:

L3JRC - A global, multi-year (2000-2007) burnt area product (1 km resolution and daily time steps). Tansey, K., Grégoire, J-M., Pereira, J.M.C., Defourny, P., Leigh, R., Pekel, J-F., Barros, A., Silva, J., van Bogaert, E., Bartholomé, E., Bontemps, S. Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society Annual Conference 2007. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 11-14 September 2007

A new, global, multi-annual (2000-2007) burned area product at 1 km resolution and daily intervals. Tansey, K., Grégoire, J.M.C., Defourny, P., Leigh, R., Pekel, van Bogaert, E., Bartholomé, E., Bontemps, S. Geophysical Research Letters, submitted, July 2007

Tansey, K., Grégoire, J.-M., Defourny, P., Leigh, R., Pekel, J.-F., van Bogaert, E., and Bartholomé, E. (2008): A new, global, multi-annual (2000–2007) burnt area product at 1 km resolution, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L01401, DOI:10.1029/2007GL031567.


Global Burnt Area 2000 Project

The Global Burnt Area – 2000 initiative (GBA2000) has been launched by the Global Vegetation Monitoring (GVM) Unit of the Joint Research Center (JRC), in partnership with other six institutions, with as specific objectives to produce a map of the areas burnt globally for the year 2000, using the medium resolution (1 km) satellite imagery provided by the SPOT-Vegetation system and to derive statistics of area burnt per type of vegetation cover.

The GBA2000-IMS application allows the users to get informed of the project status. They can overlay burnt areas with other types of information such as country border, national parks boundaries, land cover map. The users can zoom in and out, change the background, the month of observation in 2000, as well as download the data and access statistics.

Since December 2002 the complete global GBA2000 dataset is available on the website of the JRC.

Since May 2003 the GBA2000 website contains gridded files available for download. The products are available at the 1, 1/2 and 1/4 degree scale. Three products are available for each month at each resolution based on these criteria:

1) The re-sampled pixel value indicates the total number of pixels identified as being burned per grid cell (file name extension of *_n.bsq). This file is unsigned short integers in IEEE byte order.

2) The re-sampled pixel value indicates the percentage of pixels indicated as being burned of all pixels in that grid cell (file name extension of *_pc.bsq). This file is in byte format.

3) The re-sampled pixel value indicates the percentage of pixels indicated as being burned of all vegetated pixels (according to the UMD land cover product) in that grid cell (file name extension of *_pcv.bsq). This file is in byte format.

Tables with areas burned in 2000 and the gridded files can be downloaded in the Statistics file at:

Relevant publications:

Tansey, K., Grégoire, J.-M., Binaghi, E., Boschetti, L., Brivio, P.A., Ershov, D., Flasse, S., Fraser, R., Graetz, D., Maggi, M., Peduzzi, P., Pereira, J.M.C., Silva, J., Sousa, A., and Stroppiana, D. (2004): A Global Inventory of Burned Areas at 1 Km Resolution for the Year 2000 Derived from Spot Vegetation Data, Climatic Change, 67, 345-377, DOI:10.1007/s10584-004-2800-3.

Tansey, K., Grégoire, J.-M., Stroppiana, D., Sousa, A., Silva, J.M.N., Pereira, J.M.C., Boschetti, L., Maggi, M., Brivio, P.A., Fraser, R., Flasse, S., Ershov, D., Binaghi, E., Graetz, D. and Peduzzi, P. (2004): Vegetation burning in the year 2000: Global burned area estimates from SPOT VEGETATION data, Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 109, D14S03, DOI:10.1029/2003JD003598.


Global Burnt Surfaces 1982- 1999 (GBS 1982-99)

The data for the Global Burnt Surfaces 1982-99 (GBS 1982-99) have been processed by the European Commission – DG Joint Research Centre – Institute for Environment and Sustainability – Global Vegetation Monitoring Unit. 

This product, derived from the daily NOAA-AVHRR GAC 8km data set (1982-1999), allows to characterize fire activity in both northern and southern hemispheres on the basis of average seasonal cycle and inter-annual variability. Details can be found in Carmona-Moreno et al. (2005) [1].

The burned surface detection algorithm implemented for obtaining burned surface maps uses weekly composites of the daily NOAA-AVHRR GAC 8km data. The algorithm is a global extension of the multi-temporal multi-threshold algorithm developed for the Africa continent. An important aspect in defining the global fire regime is the probability of fire occurring in a particular season for any given area. This can be described as the probability for a given area at (lat. i, long. j) to burn in a given unit of time. As expected, these results show the low probability of fire occurring in the first trimester of the year (winter) in the Mediterranean area and also in high latitudes of the boreal region. The probability strongly increases during the second and third periods of the year. This time series clearly depicts a temporal shift (~2 trimesters) between the fire activity in the northern and the southern hemispheres, and this temporal shift between the tropical and medium latitudes in the northern hemisphere is around 1 trimester.

The data are described in the paper [1] and they can be freely downloaded for scientific use from:

[1] *Characterising interannual variation in global fire calendar using data from Earth Observing satellites*, Carmona-Moreno, C., Belward, A., Malingreau, J.P., Hartley, A., Garcia-Alegre, M., Antonovskiy, M., Buchshtaber, V., Pivovarov, V. 2005a. /Global Change Biology/. *11*( 9), 1537-1555, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.001003.x, September 2005.


The GLOBSCAR Project

The GLOBSCAR-project produces incremental global maps showing newly burnt surfaces. These maps are important because of the environmental consequences of vegetation fires. Every month a difference map is calculated, using daily ATSR images, initially for the year 2000.

The GLOBSCAR approach was developed using burn scar algorithms developed under ESA announcement of opportunity AO3-329 on "Development and testing of algorithms for a global burnt area product from ERS-2 ATSR-2", with the support from UTL Lisbon and JRC.

More information on the GLOBSCAR project as well as the ATSR World Fire Atlas (ATSR), the Burned Area Land-Use Change Detection (BALU) and the Regional Burned Forest Mapping in Italy (ITALSCAR) projects can be found at:

or accessed directly here:

The GLOBSCAR products themselves can be downloaded from the order page that can be accessed through the GEOSUCCESS website


Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED) Project (1997 – now)

The GFED project, aiming to quantify fire emissions on a global scale, originated from a NASA grant to James T. Randerson. Over the last 5 years, emissions estimates have been refined, and gridded monthly burned area and emissions are available for the community to download and use. 

Burned area estimates are derived from a combination of active fires depicted by MODIS (2001 onwards), TRMM-VIRS and ATSR (for the pre-2001 period), and burned area (MODIS) for selected regions. For these regions, relations between burned area and active fires were derived using ancillary data such as vegetation continuous fields and cluster size of fire pixels. These regionally-derived relations were then used to extrapolate to the global and inter-annual domain. This ‘hybrid’ burned area product should be seen as an interim solution that is useful until other burned area products (e.g., the official MODIS burned area product and the GLOBCARBON products) become available.

A readme file providing further information can be found here:

A publication on the burned area product can be found here:

Burned area (1997 – now, monthly, one degree) can be downloaded from:

Within the GFED project a modified version of the CASA biogeochemical model was used to estimate emissions. The CASA model simulates the exchange of carbon between the biosphere and the atmosphere based on satellite-derived NPP. A fire module was implemented to add the fire loss pathway. Within the model, fuel loads are calculated for each grid cell and month based on fuel loads of the previous month, carbon gains from NPP, and carbon losses from respiration, herbivory, fuel wood collection, and fire. Combustion completeness of the fuel loads depended on fuel type and moisture conditions.

A readme file providing further information can be found here:

A publication on the fire emission can be found here: 

Emission data (carbon, CO2, CO, CH4, aerosols, and several other trace gases for the 1997 – now period, monthly [for the 2001 onwards period also 8-day data] one degree) can be downloaded from


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