Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA measures wildfire pollution pour over Niagara Falls

Date:
July 29, 2011
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
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.

The data for this image was acquired by MODIS-Aqua, and is averaged over the period July 18-20, 2011. Aerosol Optical Depth is a unitless quantity indicating the degree to which aerosols in the atmosphere prevent the transmission of light. Higher AOD values indicate decreasing light transmission, and thus increased concentration of aerosols, which for fires are primarily composed of soot particles.
Credit: SSEC/WISC/NASA

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.

Related Articles


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: http://www.nasa.gov/fires

For more information about the Giovanni system, visit: http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/giovanni


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA measures wildfire pollution pour over Niagara Falls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110728162636.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2011, July 29). NASA measures wildfire pollution pour over Niagara Falls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110728162636.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA measures wildfire pollution pour over Niagara Falls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110728162636.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii was 225 yards from Pahoa Village Road on Wednesday night. The lava is slowing down but still approaching the village. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) At the foot of the rugged Carpathian mountains near the Polish-Ukrainian border, ranchers and scientists are trying to protect the Carpathian pony, known as the Hucul in Polish. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins