Effect of Forest Fire on Snow Reflectance in Uttarakhand Region: An Analysis Using AWiFS and INSAT-3D Data
In the summer of 2016, fire broke out in the forests of Uttarakhand state. The effect of forest fire was thought to have severe impact on nearby glaciated region in terms of faster melting. It is understood that contamination and heat enhance the snowmelt, which reduces the reflectance in different part of EM spectrum. In order to assess the effect, AWiFS and IMAGER data from Resourcesat-1 and INSAT-3D, respectively, for the months of April and May of the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 were used to compare the reflectance of snow. It was observed that pre- and post-fire data of 2016 show drop in reflectance in comparison with earlier years. The change in reflectance for locations near to forest fire was significantly high in comparison with previous year images, whereas far-away locations did not show much change. This drastic drop may be attributed to deposition of black carbon on nearby locations in snow-covered area. AWS data of nearby Joshimath observatory were also analysed to avoid any anomalous change in temperature for the same duration.
KeywordsForest fire Snow reflectance AWiFS INSAT-3D Atmospheric temperature
Authors are grateful to Shri Tapan Misra, Director, Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, for all the supports given to this team for taking up newer activities important for societal use.