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Vendredi, 21 Octobre 2011 22:33

Video: 10 Years of Fires on Earth Seen From Space

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Using a pair of Earth-monitoring satellites, NASA has recorded tens of millions of fires that burned throughout the past decade.

NASA took the 10 years of data collected since 2002 and created animated visualizations (above). The videos show the ebbs and flows of Earth from space including its vegetation, snow cover, cloud cover, surface temperatures, oceans, fires and more.

The fire data show the United States was home to just 2 percent of the world’s fires. Africa, meanwhile, was the most fiery continent.

Africa contributed 70 percent of the world’s blazes over the years, including both natural and man-made conflagrations. (A very large cluster of agricultural- and lightning-sparked fires in African savanna lands, for example, can be seen from July through September 2006.)

Data came from the Terra satellite, launched in 1999, and the Aqua satellite, launched in 2002. Each spacecraft carries a special instrument called a MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, which monitors a rainbow of different wavelengths of light emitted by or bounced off our host planet.

Both satellites have sun-synchronous orbits to keep the direction of sunlight the same at all times throughout the year, allowing them to image the entire surface of Earth every one to two days.

Starting with a global tour, this gallery of NASA videos shows the satellites’ MODIS fire data collected July 2002 through July 2011.

Video: 10 Years of Fires on Earth Seen From Space

The Normalized Vegetation Index or NDVI (left) shows the intensity of vegetation, increasing from left to right. Meanwhile, MODIS fire pixels (right) reveal the brightness temperatures of blazes. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)

All videos: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Video: 10 Years of Fires on Earth Seen From SpaceDave Mosher is a contributor and freelance journalist obsessed with space, physics, biology, technology and more. He lives in New York City. G+
Follow @davemosher and @wiredscience on Twitter.


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