Earth  ID: 11300

An Increasing Number of Fires and Burned Area Seen from Space

One of the most practical and efficient ways to monitor global fire is via satellites. From space, it's possible to create long-term records of burned areas on the earth. And these records show a disturbing trend: the millions of hectares burned every year by fires is increasing in the United States and most areas around the world. Some of these fires are caused by lightning, but the majority are man-made and used as a tool for forest and brush clearing, crop and pasture maintenence, or cooking. Drier climate conditions are causing both man-made and natural wildfires to burn more land. And as a result, a larger amount of carbon, stored in vegetation and biomass, is being released into the atmosphere. Studies conducted by scientists at NASA show that if we continue to rely on fossil fuels then the frequency and length of these extreme fire events is likely to increase in the future.



Alison Schuyler Ogden (NASA/GSFC): Producer
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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SVS >> 2013 Fires