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Fires in Eastern China As Seen By Aqua on October 19, 2014

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

China is a well-known user of fire to clear agricultural fields of debris.  In this satellite image hundreds of hot spots fill the image. These hot spots are where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background.  When accompanied by smoke, as in this image, they  indicative of fire. 

Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.  Haze in this region tends to worsen in the fall and winter, when cold, heavy air traps pollutants near the surface.

This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on October 19, 2014. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner

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