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Published on October 20th, 2011 | by Joshua S Hill


NASA Releases Visual Tour Of 10 Years Worth of Fires

October 20th, 2011 by

NASA has released a series of video and still visualisations that show a decade’s worth of fires across the surface of Earth based on data gathered by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instruments on board NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

“What you see here is a very good representation of the satellite data scientists use to understand the global distribution of fires and to determine where and how fire distribution is responding to climate change and population growth,” said Chris Justice of the University of Maryland, College Park, a scientist who leads NASA’s effort to use MODIS data to study the world’s fires.

The video takes viewers on a narrated tour of fires detected between July 2002 and July 2011, showing them Australia, Asia, Europe and western Russia, India and Southeast Asia, Africa, South America and North America.

Unsurprisingly, Antarctica was left out of this visualisation.

What is obvious from this visualisation – which backs up the data itself – is that central Africa is a very fire-prone region. According to the MODIS data, 70% of the fires detected across the world take place in Africa, specifically through Central Africa.

Whereas, on the opposite side of the coin, North America makes up just 2% of the world’s fires each year.

Make sure you keep an eye out for the ebb and flow of the northern ice as well, as that makes for some seriously beautiful images. Also, head on over to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center blog to read a really wonderful (and really long) look back at the last ten years of fire across the planet.

Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.

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