Articles | Volume 3, issue 1/2
30 Apr 2003
30 Apr 2003

The use of NOAA/AVHRR satellite data for monitoring and assessment of forest fires and floods

C. Domenikiotis, A. Loukas, and N. R. Dalezios

Abstract. The increasing number of extreme natural phenomena, which are related to the climate variability and are mainly caused by anthropogenic factors, escalate the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Operational monitoring of natural hazards and assessment of the affected area impose quick and efficient methods based on large-scale data, readily available to the agencies. The growing number of satellite systems and their capabilities give rise to remote sensing applications to all types of natural disasters, including forest fires and floods. Remote sensing techniques can be used in all three aspects of disaster management viz: forecasting, monitoring and damage assessment. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of satellite remote sensing for monitoring and near-real time assessment of the affected by forest fires and floods areas. As a tool, two satellite indices are presented, namely the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Surface Temperature (ST), extracted by the meteorological satellite NOAA/AVHRR. In the first part of the paper, a review of utilized techniques using NDVI and ST is given. In the second part, the application of various methodologies to three case studies are presented: the forest fire of 21–24 July 1995 in Penteli Mountain near Athens and 16 September 1994 in Pelion Mountain in Thessaly region, central Greece, and finally the flood of 17–23 October 1994 in Thessaly region, central Greece. For all studies the NDVI has been utilized for hazard assessment. The method of ST has been applied to the flood event in Thessaly, for the estimation of the areal extent of the floods. As emerged from the studies, remote sensing data can be decisive for monitoring and damage assessment, caused by forest fires and floods.