Monitoring active fires in the Lower Paraná River floodplain: analysis and reproducible reports on satellite thermal hotspots
2021-09-29, 15:00–15:30, Academic

Floodplain wetlands play a key role in hydrological and biogeochemical cycles and comprise a large part of the world's biodiversity and resources. The exploitation of remote sensing data can substantially contribute to monitoring procedures at broad ecological scales. In 2020, the Lower Paraná River floodplain (also known as Paraná River Delta, Argentina) suffered from a severe drought, and extended areas were burned. To monitor the wildfire situation, satellite products provided by FIRMS-NASA were used. These thermal hotspots —associated with active fires— can be downloaded as zipped spatial objects (point shapefiles) and include recent and archive records from VIRRS and MODIS thermal infrared sensors. The main aim was to handle these data, analyze the number of hotspots during 2020, and compare the disaster with previous years' situation. Using a reproducible workflow was crucial to ingest the zip files and repeat the same series of plots and analyses when necessary. Obtaining updated reports allowed me to quickly respond to peers, technicians, and journalists about the evolving fire situation. A total of 39,821 VIIRS S-NPP thermal hotspots were detected, with August (winter) accounting for 39.8% of the whole year’s hotspots. MODIS hotspots have lower spatial resolution than VIIRS, so the cumulative MODIS hotspots recorded during 2020 were 8,673, the highest number of hotspots of the last 11 years. Scripts were written in R language and are shared under a CC BY 4.0 license. QGIS was also used to generate a high-quality animation. The workflow can be used in other study areas.

An R workflow to obtain reproducible reports on active fires monitored with satellite products is presented. The work is an ecological application of spatial analyses conducted with open-source software (R, QGIS). By presenting this approach and results, I aim to highlight: the importance of using remote sensing data and ancillary geographic data to monitor large-scale disasters; how generating reproducible workflows can facilitate and improve geospatial analyses, and lastly, I want to show the usage of open-source geospatial software to account all these tasks. Wildfires are a current environmental topic in South American wetland environments. The case study area is the Paraná River floodplain.

Authors and Affiliations

Morandeira, Natalia Soledad (1, 2)

(1) Instituto de Investigación e Ingeniería Ambiental, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina.
(2) Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina.




Sensors, remote sensing, laser-scanning, structure from motion


2 - Basic. General basic knowledge is required.

Language of the Presentation