Fires down under
The data behind the newly released NASA animation comes in part from observations made by two of NASA's flagship Earth-observing satellites, Terra and Aqua, which for more than 10 years now have been tapping an instrument called MODIS -- the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer -- to scan our planet for fires.
The two craft orbit the planet once every hour and a half or so and can text forest managers around the world with the coordinates of active fires, so that the appropriate agencies can respond as needed. The MODIS data also allows for the mapping of potential trends. NASA says MODIS has "revolutionized what scientists know about fire’s role in land cover change, ecosystem processes, and the global carbon cycle by allowing researchers to map characteristics of the global distribution of fires in remarkable detail."
The above image of fires in northern Australia was captured by Aqua and MODIS on July 23.
August 10, 2013 4:51 PM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Edward Moyer
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