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 Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano
20.10.2017 | Brown University

nachricht New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>