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Instantaneous estimates of the power released by a fire (Fire Radiative Power, FRP) are available with satellite active fire detection products. Integrating FRP in time provides an estimate of the total energy released (Fire Radiative Energy, FRE), which can be converted into burned biomass estimates needed by the atmospheric emissions modeling community. While straightforward in theory, the integration of FRP in time and space is affected by temporal and spatial undersampling imposed by the satellite sensing and orbit geometry, clouds, and active fire product omission errors. Combination of active fire FRP estimates with independently derived burned area maps provides the potential for improved and spatially explicit estimates of FRE and biomass burned. In the present work, strategies for the temporal interpolation of FRP data and for the spatial extrapolation of FRE across the burn are proposed and, as a study case, applied to an extensive grassland fire that burned for 40 days in northern Australia. The fusion of FRP estimates derived from MODIS Terra and Aqua active fire detections with the MODIS burned area product is considered, although other polar orbiting and geostationary satellite fire products could be used. Intercomparison of FRE estimated over the MODIS mapped burned area using Terra, Aqua, and Terra-Aqua combined FRP data highlights the sensitivity of FRE estimation to satellite sampling. Despite this sensitivity, FRE biomass burned estimates derived from MODIS burned area and Terra and Aqua FRP data are within 30% of regional literature estimates, suggesting that this fusion approach is a fruitful avenue for future research and validation.

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Journal of Geophysical Research



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AGU Publications