Fires in Central America

Fires in Central America

16 May 2007

Fires in Honduras and Nicaragua

On 13 May 2007, the Moderate Resolution ImagingSpectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image of fires in Honduras and Nicaragua, along withsmoke-filled skies over the Pacific Ocean. Places where MODIS detected activefire are marked in red.

13 May 2007

Although the skies are indeed smoky, the haze is somewhat exaggerated by thefact that the area was at the far left (western) edge of MODIS’ field of viewin this image. At the edges of its wide field of view, MODIS’ viewing path, orline of sight to the surface, is longer than the viewing path in the center ofthe scene (directly below the sensor). Light reflected from the surface at theedges of the image has to travel a longer path through the atmosphere back toMODIS, which can exaggerate the appearance of haze.

During the dry season in Honduras (Northern Hemisphere winter and spring),accidental and intentional fires are common. Fires in this image may beagricultural—brush and field clearing—or forest fires.

The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters perpixel.

(source: EarthObservatory)

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