EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Geospatial analysis of Arctic fires in the MODIS era: 2003–2020

Thomas Smith1, Jessica McCarty2, Merritt Turetsky3, and Mark Parrington4
Thomas Smith et al.
  • 1Department of Geography & Environment, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2Department of Geography & Director, Geospatial Analysis Center, Miami University, Oxford, OH, USA (
  • 3Director, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, NSTAAR, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA (
  • 4Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, Copernicus Services Department, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK (

MODIS has provided an 18-year continuous record of global fire activity. Here we present a geospatial analysis of MODIS hotspots in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere from 2003 through to 2020. By combining the hotspot data with multiple land-cover datasets relating to vegetation cover, permafrost, and peat, we investigate boreal and tundra wildfire regimes, including an assessment of a significant northwards shift and increase in fire activity in 2019 and 2020. We focus on the distribution of hotspots on high latitude peatlands and permafrost and the associated difficulties in confirming residual smouldering compustion of peat soils using current remote sensing technology.

How to cite: Smith, T., McCarty, J., Turetsky, M., and Parrington, M.: Geospatial analysis of Arctic fires in the MODIS era: 2003–2020, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16198,, 2021.

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