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Monitoring of Agriculture Residue Burning
Agriculture residue burning is commonly practiced in the Indian part of the IGP - Indus (Punjab, Haryana) and Gangetic Plains (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal), primarily to clear the waste after harvesting and for preparing the field for the next cropping cycle in a short time. Agriculture residue burning is also a global concern and is widely studied scientifically with respect to the emissions into the atmosphere viz., aerosols, particulate matter and greenhouse gases (GHGs). These emissions are believed to alter the atmospheric physics and chemistry, thereby contributing to climate change.
Monitoring of residue burning using satellite data is possible and has the advantage of covering large areas in space and time. Further, information on active fire locations in near real time on an operational basis is much desired for policy makers and managers. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership - Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (Suomi NPP - VIIRS) sensors are capable of detecting active fires at high confidence level and provide information on active fires 2-4 times a day/night. Figure-1 shows MODIS based active fire detections for 3-Nov-2015 for the states of Punjab and Haryana. Intense practice of residue burning (a total of 146 active fire detections) was observed. It may also be noted, that given the 1 x 1km pixel footprint of MODIS data, the actual number of fires on ground might be on a higher degree. The inputs are generated operationally on daily basis and are being sent to the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change.