Satellite-derived 2003 wildfires in southern Siberia and their potential influence on carbon sequestration

Huang, S., Siegert, F., Goldammer, J.G. and Sukhinin, A.I.

International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 30 Issue 6 pp. 1479-1492


The burned area, fuel type, crown fire percentage, and carbon release of the southern Siberia 2003 wildfire were analysed using AVHRR, MODIS, MERIS, ASTER images and a carbon release model. More than 200 000 km2 were burned from 14 March to 8 August 2003, of which 71.4% was forest, 9.5% humid grassland, and 2.15% bogs or marshes. During 1996 to 2003, 32.2% of the forested area and 23.36% of the total area was burned, and 13.9% of the total area was affected by fire at least twice. Direct carbon emission from this 2003 fire was around 400640 Tg. The 2003 Siberian fires could well have contributed to the high increase of the atmospheric CO2 and CO concentration in 2003. The increasing human pressure coupled with intensive fire severity, recurrent fire frequency, and increasing occurrence of summer droughts will reduce the carbon sequestration potential of this important carbon pool.

Patrick Cross2009