Mapping land dryness at high resolution for fire prediction

April 15, 2019 |
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Mapping land dryness at high resolution for fire prediction

17 April 2019 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Mapping land dryness at high resolution for fire prediction


Vinodkumar, Imtiaz Dharssi and Paul Fox-Hughes

Bureau of Meteorology


Accurate soil moisture information is essential for the monitoring and prediction of fire danger, soil moisture being an important factor in determining the moisture content and flammability of fuels. The soil moisture status in operational fire prediction is often provided in the form of moisture deficit, assessed using drought indices. There is evidence that these operational drought indices perform poorly in estimating soil moisture status. A research project was initiated in partnership with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre to develop an advanced, state-of-the-art soil moisture analysis for Australia. Consequently, a prototype, high-resolution, land surface modelling-based soil moisture analysis called JULES based Soil Moisture Information (JASMIN) has been developed. JASMIN can provide hourly moisture estimates for 4 soil layers, at a spatial resolution of 5 km.

The presentation will discuss the JASMIN project, focussing on the progress made so far on various components, including evaluation, calibration and downscaling of the JASMIN product. The evaluation is carried out against observations from ground-based networks. Among the results, the mean Pearson’s correlation for surface soil moisture across the three in-situ networks is found to be between 0.78 and 0.85. The calibration offers a simple, fast and cost-effective way to make significant upgrades to the existing operational soil moisture monitoring systems used by fire and other environmental agencies. The validation of the calibrated products using in-situ observations and MODIS fire radiative power data will be presented.

The downscaling research is motivated by the desirable impact a higher resolution soil moisture product can provide for fire prediction, considering the high spatial variability in soil moisture and fuel moisture. In this talk, we will focus on some of the research carried out to downscale the JASMIN product from 5 km to 1 km spatial resolution. We discuss the application of three downscaling algorithms: two regression-based methods and one with a theoretical basis. The three methods applied are based on the well-known surface temperature-vegetation index space. We will give an overview of each method applied, along with their comparison against each other and against ground-based soil moisture observations.


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Important Note:

Due to security arrangements at the Bureau of Meteorology head office (700 Collins St), external participants at seminars must be met by a Bureau host at the reception area of the building. Participants wishing to attend a seminar but without an identified host MUST EMAIL the seminar co-ordinators ( their details (name and affiliation) at least one day prior.


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BoM Science to Services (CAWCR) seminars

Contact:  Francois Delage, Angus Gray-Weale and Dragana Rajak



CAWCR Seminars held at 700 Collins St can also be attended via video conference and phone link. Please note that this service is provided for all seminars on an “as available” basis unless an unexpected technical issue occurs. The connection should be available 10 minutes prior to meeting schedule time. Should you have inquiries or a problem with VC, contact for assistance.



Video connection details (Note the change)


Name: Bureau of Meteorology – R&D Seminars


Video Address

Bureau Internal: 558912

External Participants:

PIN: 3099#


Audio Connection          +61 3 9900 8912



The CAWCR Seminar Coordinators are Francois Delage, Angus Gray-Weale, and Dragana Rajak


Requests for seminars can be sent to

More information is available at


17 April 2019
10:00 am - 11:00 am
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