Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA Measures Wildfire Pollution Pour Over Niagara Falls

29.07.2011
Water isn't the only thing pouring over Niagara Falls. Pollution from fires in Ontario, Canada is also making the one thousand mile trip, while being measured by NASA's Aqua satellite.

One instrument that flies aboard two of NASA's satellites has provided two views of the pollution from the fires in Ontario. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS instrument, flies onboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. MODIS has provided a visible look at the smoke and pollution that has spread over Niagara Falls and east to Nova Scotia.

As of July 20, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) noted that Ontario accounted for 40% of the new fires in the entire country during the week of July 17. The CIFFC reported that so far in 2011, more than 300,000 hectares have burned in Ontario. The Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald reported that smoke from those fires also reached Nova Scotia and Newfoundland by the end of that week.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over western Ontario on July 18, 2011 at 17:58 UTC (1:58 p.m. EDT) and captured a visible image of light brown smoke from wildfires streaming toward the Great Lakes. The MODIS instrument also detects heat signatures and can identify "hot spots" where fires are still burning.

Data from the MODIS instrument also helps identify pollution. Data was compiled and averaged using the NASA web-based Giovanni system over the period of July 18-20, 2011. The data provided a measurement of what is called "Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD)." To understand that, think of the atmosphere as an "ocean of air." The depth or amount of aerosols can prevent the transmission of light in the air, just as dirt can block light through the ocean.

Higher values of the AOD measurement mean there are more aerosols (tiny bits of pollution that are also created by soot and smoke from fires) in the air, and less light is getting through the atmosphere. Another prominent aerosol from volcanoes and coal-burning power plants is sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Between July 18 and 20, the greatest pollution, or quantity of aerosols were north of the Great Lakes. Over a large area stretching from the north of western Lake Superior east to Lake Huron, particles measured highest at 1.5 molecules per cubic centimeter.

Giovanni is a Web-based application that provides a simple and intuitive way to visualize, analyze, and access vast amounts of Earth science remote sensing data without having to download the data.

"One of the advantages of Giovanni is that it allows us to make rapid multi-day averages of daily data from MODIS," said Dr. James Acker, an oceanographer at the Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) who is creating a Giovanni data portal specifically for educators. GES DISC operates out of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "By averaging the data, we can see the full extent of smoke from the fires, which can be a health hazard," Acker said. "The AOD data also clearly indicates where the smoke is, and distinguishes it from weather clouds."

Dr. Acker recently experienced wildfire smoke first-hand at a teacher workshop in northeastern New Mexico, where the air quality was noticeably affected by the huge Wallow Fire in Arizona, nearly 300 miles away.

For updated fire and smoke imagery from NASA, visit NASA's Fire/Smoke web page:
www.nasa.gov/fires
For more information about the Giovanni system, visit:
http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/giovanni Rob Gutro / Dr. James Acker
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/fires/main/niagra-20110728.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West
23.10.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>