News N. 9/153   05/11/2019

The Cuomo Foundation-Funded Researcher Helps Amazon Civil Defense Agents Improve Their Understanding of Wildfires Using Satellite Technology

Igor Ribeiro is a Researcher from Brazil. He is supported by the Cuomo Foundation for a period of 2 years in the context of the IPCC Scholarship Program on climate change-related issues. He’s currently working on “Fires in the Amazon rain forest: Impacts of forest fires on air quality of a tropical megacity”. This is a report based on his on-field actions in relationship with his research project.
 

The National Science and Technology Week (Brazil) aims to bring science and technology closer to the population. The idea is to create an accessible language with creative solutions that stimulate curiosity in order to motivate the population to discuss the social implications of science while deepening their knowledge on the subject.

Within the framework of the activities, a special training program designed for Civil Defense Agents of the State of Amazonas was initiated. The theme of the workshop was "Basic concepts of meteorology focused on operational activities of Civil Defense". The session was animated by professors and students of the Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA). During the workshop, Mr. Igor Ribeiro, addressed the issue of "Auxiliary Tools for Remote Sensing Monitoring of Forest Fires in the Amazon", a program developed by the INPE/Queimadas platform to assist Agents in monitoring Amazonian burning by sensing remote.

The monitoring of forest fires from remote sensing and easily accessible online platforms is indispensable in a region like the Amazon, with many remote areas where no intensive means of monitoring are implemented. INPE/Queimadas system provides every 3 hours information produced by ten distinct satellites. This information includes automated daily reports, tables, graphs and interactive maps that allow Civil Defense Agents to alert population and plan actions with firefighters and other municipal entities to combat forest fires, especially from July to November. During this period, less rainfall, drier vegetation and human actions (clearing large areas, starting crops and renewing pastures…), trigger wildfires.

In a scenario of extreme climate events (E.g. El Niño, warming of the Tropical Atlantic North) or climate change intensifying drought conditions in the Amazon, the frequency and intensity of fires could occur. In the context of the project "Fires in the Amazon rain forest: Impacts of forest fires in the air quality of a tropical megacity”, supported by the IPCC and Cuomo Foundation, the training encouraged the Amazon State Civil Defense Agents to better monitor forest fires using remote sensing. The workshop has been carried out by the researchers Dr. Igor Ribeiro, Dr. Rodrigo Souza and Dr. Scot Martin. The researchers would like to acknowledge the funding from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Cuomo Foundation without which this project would not be possible.

-Igor Ribeiro