Passive Microwave Sensor Technology for Detection of Visible, Obscured, or Subsurface Hotspots to Accurately Direct Precision Crew Response
Small Business Information
2904 44th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL, 33714
AbstractWith record-breaking disastrous wildfires along with the human toll fighting them, no real-time technology is available to hot shots or heli-tanker suppression crews to easily detect and pinpoint water/retardant suppression on latent or lingering hot spots which are often obscured by dirt, smoke or dust. We propose to generate functional requirements of a microwave radiometer handheld sensor and airborne sensor, develop a brightness temperature radiative model to investigate the microwave thermal emission characteristics from below surface hot spots as a function of operation frequency, conduct outdoor radiometer measurements of burning materials to aid in validating the model, and develop a preliminary design for a handheld and/or microwave airborne sensor. Initially, we will leverage/use a CME/Raytheon developed passive microwave radiometer to conduct brightness temperature measurements of certain forest fuel sources to support the selection of an optimum detector frequency. Military-related microwave technology advancements enable the feasibility of developing small airborne, ground-based, and even handheld microwave sensors. Even in heavy smoke, a handheld, passive microwave sensor would allow hotshot supervisors to prioritize suppression crews to the most threatening sites. A helicopter-mounted sensor would allow pinpoint drop of their precious suppression cargo; and hot shot crews could easily detect sursurface roots still burning but hidden. Our team proposes a multi-pronged approach to significantly improve the performance and safety of wildfire suppression crews.
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