Atmosphärenchemie alt Text [en]

Research Group Dr. Johannes W. Kaiser

J. W. Kaiser, G. R. van der Werf, and A. Heil. Biomass burning [in ”State of the Climate in 2015”]. BAMS, 97(8):S60–S62, 2016.(
(NOAA report "State of the Climate in 2015")


Fire Emissions

We characterise vegetation fires using global satellite observations of infrared radiation. Vegetation fires occur worldwide as a natural component of many ecosystems. Today, they are heavily influenced by human activities. Emissions from these fires play an important role for regional and global air quality, climate and the carbon cycle. However, emission estimates are still highly uncertain.

Infrared satellite observations allow for the calculation of the radiative energy released by fires: the so-called “Fire Radiative Power” (FRP). Characterising fires with FRP has several distinct advantages: FRP is closely related to the amount of biomass burned and the smoke emissions produced; FRP is an instantaneous observation of fire; FRP is observed by an increasing number of research and operational satellites. FRP is already a key input in operational air quality forecasting services. And it is increasingly used for further applications ranging from climate research to gas flare monitoring.

Our group at MPIC is leading the development of the FRP-based Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS), which is producing pyrogenic emissions as part of EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).  We aim to make GFAS the best possible representation of global FRP also in the future by

  • improving accuracy and temporal and spatial resolutions by assimilating all available FRP observations
  • supporting existing and upcoming applications

An introduction to our research field has been published in the Jahrbuch 2015 of the Max Planck Society: "Feuer und Rauch: Mit Satellitenaugen beobachtet" (in German only).


The group is externally funded through the following projects, which mostly address applications of FRP:

  • CAMS44Development of GFAS for the real-time operation in EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS)
  • Fire_cci: Monitoring Essential Climate Variable fire disturbance in ESA's Fire Climate Change Initiative
  • GSF3: Characterisation of gas flares and emissions using the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite 
  • GFAS-CLIMDevelopment of a climate data record with Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS)
  • FireSensMeasurements of angular dependence of infrared radiation emission
  • IBBI: The Interdisciplinary Biomass Burning Initiative endorsed by WMOIGAC and iLEAPS (no funding)

Past projects:

Please also check: