14 Jun 2023
 | 14 Jun 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

GloCAB: Global Cropland Burned Area from Mid-2002 to 2020

Joanne Hall, Fernanda Argueta, Maria Zubkova, Yang Chen, James Randerson, and Louis Giglio

Abstract. Burned area estimates are an essential component of inventory-based fire emission calculations, and any inaccuracies in those estimates propagate into the final emission outputs. While satellite-based global burned area and fire emission datasets (e.g. GFED, FireCCI51, and MCD64A1) are frequently cited within the scientific literature and used by a range of users from atmospheric and carbon modelers to policy-makers, they are generally not optimized for cropland burning – a quintessential small-fire type. Here we describe a new dataset (GloCAB; Global Cropland Area Burned) which represents the first attempt at a global cropland-focused burned area product. The GloCAB dataset provides global, monthly cropland burned area at 0.25° spatial resolution from July 2002 – December 2020. Crop-specific burned area conversion factors for several widespread burnable crops (winter wheat, spring wheat, maize, rice, and sugarcane) were calculated from extensively-mapped cropland reference regions spanning 190,650 fields over 5 different countries. We found global annual cropland burned area (2003 – 2020) ranged between 64 Mha (2018) and 102 Mha (2008) with an average of 81 Mha using our lower-bound estimates which are substantially higher than the annual average of 32 Mha in the MCD64A1 C6 product. Region-specific trend analysis found some areas with significant increasing trends (northwest India), while the heterogeneity of many other regions found no burned area trends. This cropland-focused burned area methodology is the first step toward improving the representation of global crop-residue burning emissions – an often overlooked small-fire source of trace gas and aerosol emissions within global fire emission inventories.

Joanne Hall et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-191', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Jul 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2023-191', Anonymous Referee #2, 04 Aug 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on essd-2023-191', Anonymous Referee #3, 08 Aug 2023

Joanne Hall et al.

Data sets

GloCAB: Global Cropland Area Burned Joanne Hall, Fernanda Argueta, Maria Zubkova, Yang Chen, Jim Randerson, and Louis Giglio

Joanne Hall et al.


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Short summary
Crop-residue burning is a widespread practice often occurring close to population centers. Their recurrent nature requires accurate mapping of the area burned – a key input into air quality models. Unlike larger fires, crop fires require a specific burned area (BA) methodology, which to date, has been ignored within global BA datasets. Our global cropland-focused BA product found a significant increase in global cropland BA (81 Mha annual average) compared to the widely-used MCD64A1 (32 Mha).