Have you ever wondered what wildfires burning across the globe must look like from outer space? The effects of wildfires across the globe can now be observed and researched by orbiting satellites in space. The NASA Earth Observatory page has an interesting animated data set about wildfires that have occurred over the past year that you can view. Some of the fires are caused by burning rangeland, some have been caused by lightning strikes or for other reasons. One very interesting observation that I was able to make by comparing the fire map with the map that shares where elevated carbon dioxide levels are located across the world, is that some areas very closely align. However according to the website this is not always the case.
According to the website, “The fire maps show the locations of actively burning fires around the world on a monthly basis, based on observations from the MODIS sensors on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.”
Perhaps data gathered from these satellite images will help scientists better understand the kinds of gasses that are produced by different wildfires including carbon dioxide and how weather patterns can affect the intensity and spread of wildfires in the future.
Global image of fire on the upper left corner, and global image of carbon dioxide on the lower right corner from the NASA website.