Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory, Explosive Fires in Northern California
Fast burning wildfires broke out this week in California, forcing thousands to evacuate. So far, the fire has consumed thousands of acres of land and destroyed property.
Remote sensing can be used to monitor wildfires, classify land in its path, track smoke and ash, and monitor post-burn scars.
Satellite instruments detect fires using mid-infrared bands where fires typical emit strongly. Fire products may use data from polar orbiting instruments, geostationary instruments or a combination of both. The advantage of the polar orbiting instruments is their high resolution which allows them to detect smaller and/or less energetic fires than the geostationary instruments. The geostationary instruments have much higher temporal coverage and may observe many fires that the polar orbiting instruments will not see since the overpass is not coincident in time with the fire.
Materials in this section are organized into the following broad topic areas:
Particular matter (PM), or aerosol, is the general term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the atmosphere. Natural (dust and volcanic ash) and anthropogenic aerosols (biomass burning smoke, industrial pollution) influence cloud properties, alter the radiation budget of the earth-atmosphere system, affect atmospheric circulation patterns and cause changes in surface temperature and precipitation, and monitoring them is important.