High spatial resolution burn severity mapping of the New Jersey Pine Barrens with WorldView-3 near-infrared and shortwave infrared imagery
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International Journal of Remote Sensing
The WorldView-3 (WV-3) sensor, launched in 2014, is the first highspatial resolution scanner to acquire imagery in the shortwave infrared (SWIR). A spectral ratio of the SWIR combined with the nearinfrared (NIR) can potentially provide an effective differentiation of wildfire burn severity. Previous high spatial resolution sensors were limited to data fromthe visible and NIR for mapping burn severity, for example using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Drawing on a study site in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, USA, we investigate optimal processing methods for analysing WV-3 data, with a focus on the pre-fire minus post-fire differenced normalized burn ratio (dNBR). Although the imagery, originally acquired with a 3.7 m instantaneous field of view, was aggregated to 7.5 m pixels by DigitalGlobe due to current licensing constraints, a slight additional smoothing of the data was nevertheless found to help reduce noise in the multi-temporal dNBR imagery. The highest coefficient of determination (R2) of the regressions of dNBR with the field-based composite burn index was obtained with a dNBR ratio produced with the NIR1 and SWIR6 bands. Only a very small increase in R2 was found when dNBR was calculated using the average of NIR1 and NIR2 for the NIR bands, and SWIR5 to SWIR8 for the SWIR bands. dNBR calculated using SWIR1 as the NIR band produced notably lower R2 values than when either NIR1 or NIR2 were used. Differenced NDVI data was found to produce models with a much lower R2 than dNBR, emphasizing the importance of the shortwave infrared region formonitoring fire severity. High spatial resolution dNBR data fromWV-3 can potentially provide valuable information on finer details regarding burn severity patterns than can be obtained from Landsat 30 m data.
Warner, Timothy A.; Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Gallagher, Michael R. 2017. High spatial resolution burn severity mapping of the New Jersey Pine Barrens with WorldView-3 near-infrared and shortwave infrared imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 38(2): 598-616. https://doi.org/10.1080/01431161.2016.1268739.