Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cool "eyes" above help track hot fires below

23.07.2003


NASA satellites’ "eyes" above Earth are providing scientists and fire managers with powerful monitoring tools. NASA is providing the "big picture" needed to understand how fires behave before, during, and after damage has been done. A suite of NASA satellites, flying in coordinated fashion, offers the unparalleled insight only possible from space.



Fire season is underway in the American West, with wildfires raging in at least 11 states, challenging fire agencies and their limited resources. Last year, flames engulfed more than seven million acres of forestland in the United States.

"Fire is a global phenomenon, and using satellites, we have the ability to monitor fires and better understand the processes and changes in fire regimes associated with changes in climate and population," said Chris Justice, a professor of geography at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md.


According to Justice, severe fires are occurring due to changing weather patterns, drought, changing land use and land management, and in some areas due to fuel accumulation resulting from suppression of fires. The expansion of housing into fire prone areas is also increasing risk. Remote sensing allows scientists to track fires, and related effects, such as the impact of gases and smoke on the composition and chemistry of the atmosphere.

In order to understand the complete mechanics of wildfires, several NASA spacecraft are flying in formation, one behind the other, separated by only a few minutes, during mid-morning hours, obtaining data for use by fire managers on the ground.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, via its Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) in Salt Lake City, is obtaining data directly from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

"We are interested in NASA assets being used for scientific research, but also for real-world applications," said Vince Salomonson, a NASA senior scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md.

Through these satellites, each fitted with unique instruments, users like Tom Bobbe, RSAC Manager, may access specialized data for different phases of a fire. "Satellites assist fire managers in allocating limited fire fighting resources effectively," Bobbe said.

Before a fire starts, satellite data can help identify areas at risk by providing information about vegetation densities and types, and whether conditions are dry enough to fuel fires. During a fire data from the latest overpass of NASA satellites are used to update active fire maps from models run four times a day, allowing fire agencies to prioritize aircraft flights for more detailed information about a site.

Instruments, such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra spacecraft, provide daily, nearly global observations of the extent and relative intensity of fires and altitude estimates of smoke plumes. Another instrument keeps daily track of the carbon monoxide plumes from fires and the scope of pollution produced regionally and globally. After a fire is contained, imagery from space can help classify the burn area into levels of severity and prioritize rehabilitation work. The imagery can also be used over the longer term to keep tabs on the "green-up" of previously burned areas and to monitor the effectiveness of various treatments.

NASA is testing a semi-autonomous system, dubbed "sensor web." Various satellites will have the ability to communicate with each other, and provide interactive layers of images. One satellite might detect a fire starting and then signal another satellite to take detailed or specialized images for better monitoring. NASA helped develop unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and sensors for detailed fire observation. Collaborating with NASA, USDA is working to develop techniques for UAVs to assist with fire response and mapping.

Elvia Thompson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/0703esufire.html
http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/index.html
http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Porous crystalline materials: TU Graz researcher shows method for controlled growth

07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>