2012 and the Future of Fire

  • Released Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The U.S. fire season in 2012 was by some measures a record-breaking season. NASA scientist Doug Morton and University of Maryland scientist Louis Giglio discuss the links between climate and wildfires and the likelihood of seeing more extreme fire events in the future. This page includes a short video discussing these topics, extended interview clips from Giglio and Morton, and visualizations of the 2012 fire season in North America.

Researcher Doug Morton of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center discusses satellite observations of fires, the 2012 fire season, and climate projections for the future.

NASA satellites constantly monitor fire activity on Earth and 2012 was a big year for fire in North America. The following visualization represents a compilation of the active fires detected by the MODIS instrument on board the Terra and Aqua satellites from Jan. 1 through Oct. 31, 2012.

Smaller agricultural fires in the southeast United States and Mexico appear to dominate the scene, but the big story of the year was large wildfires. Bright yellow on the map shows areas that are more intense and have a larger area that is actively burning, flaming and/or smoldering, including some of the major wildfires of the year. For more on this video, visit SVS entry #4011

For more information on fires and climate, visit: www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/climate-fire.html

And to see a short video exploring the 2012 fire season and fire projections for the future, visit: youtu.be/pagJR0xMj_4


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:52 PM EDT.


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