1200+ Mile Trail of Smoke Stretches Across California in These NASA Terra Images of the Wildfires

NASA Terra Satellite California Fires August 2020

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NASA’s Terra satellite had the ability to record the big swath of smoke that has actually been created by the California wildfires and distributed by the winds surrounding those fires on August 20, 2020. The NASA Worldview site has an application that can determine ranges within the app and determining this smoke path revealed the path’s northeast to southwest path is roughly 1,214 miles long. The smoke has actually moved as far north and east as Pocatello, Idaho and as far west and south as mid-Baja California, Mexico. Although the smoke did not enter into Baja California it has actually stayed offshore over the Pacific Ocean.

Fire is ravaging, and the impacts of smoke on human beings can likewise be ravaging. The smoke launched by any kind of fire (forest, brush, crop, structure, tires, waste or wood burning) is a mix of particles and chemicals produced by insufficient burning of carbon-containing products. All smoke consists of carbon monoxide gas, co2 and particle matter (PM or soot). Smoke can consist of several chemicals, consisting of aldehydes, acid gases, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins. The type and quantity of particles and chemicals in smoke differs depending upon what is burning, just how much oxygen is offered, and the burn temperature level. Exposure to high levels of smoke must be prevented. Individuals are encouraged to restrict their physical effort if direct exposure to high levels of smoke cannot be prevented. Individuals with cardiovascular or breathing conditions (e.g., asthma), fetuses, babies, children, and the senior might be more susceptible to the health impacts of smoke direct exposure.

MODIS California Fires August 2020

Image revealing the optical depth of the smoke coming off the California wildfires. This image was taken by the MODIS, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, instrument on the Terra satellite on Aug. 20, 2020. Credit: NASA Worldview

From the Worldview website: “Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) (or Aerosol Optical Thickness) indicates the level at which particles in the air (aerosols) prevent light from traveling through the atmosphere. Aerosols scatter and absorb incoming sunlight, which reduces visibility. From an observer on the ground, an AOD of less than 0.1 is “clean” (lightest yellow) – particular of clear blue sky, intense sun and optimum presence. As AOD increases to 0.5, 1.0, and higher than 3.0, aerosols end up being so thick that sun is obscured (varying from yellow to dark red on the scale). Sources of aerosols consist of contamination from factories, smoke from fires, dust from dust storms, sea salt, and ashes and smog. Aerosols compromise human health when breathed in by individuals, especially those with asthma or other breathing diseases. Aerosols likewise have an impact on the weather condition and environment by cooling or warming the Earth, assisting or avoiding clouds from forming. Since aerosols are challenging to recognize when they take place over various kinds of land surface areas and ocean surface areas, Worldview offers a number of various kinds of images layers to help in the recognition.”

In this image there are numerous locations that are entirely obscured by smoke consisting of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, parts of San Francisco and into Idaho, following along the path of smoke from the fires and out into the Pacific Ocean.

NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application offers the ability to interactively search over 700 international, full-resolution satellite images layers and after that download the underlying information. Many of the offered images layers are upgraded within 3 hours of observation, basically revealing the whole Earth as it looks “right now.” Actively burning fires, found by thermal bands, are revealed as red points. Image Courtesy: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). Caption: Lynn Jenner with info from NASA Worldview.

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