From space, we can understand fires in ways that are impossible from the ground. NASA has released a series of new visualizations that show fires detected by key fire-monitoring instruments on NASA satellites over the last decade. The visualizations show fire observations made by MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on board the Terra and Aqua satellites. The visualization also includes vegetation and snow cover data to show how fires respond to seasonal changes. "It's incredibly satisfying to see such a long record of fires visualized," said Chris Justice, a scientist from the University of Maryland who leads NASA's effort to use MODIS data to study the world's fires. "It's not only exciting visually, but what you see here is a very good representation of the data scientists use to understand the global distribution of fires and to determine where and how fires are responding to climate change and population growth." North America is a region where fires are comparatively rare. North American fires make up just 2 percent of the world's burned area each year. The fires that receive the most attention in the United States, the uncontrolled forest fires in the West, are less visible than the wave of agricultural fires prominent in the Southeast and along the Mississippi River Valley, but some of the large wildfires that struck Texas earlier this spring are visible.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 126.96.36.199.0