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 New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>