NASA has recently released frightening images of the Earth highlighting the number and location of fires currently on our planet.
The images were put together from NASA by using satellite observations from last week and combine in a single image by NASA software.
The fires shown on the images are based off multiple origins. The fires seen in North America and in Chile, are wildfires. In Chili the wildfires have burned nearly 1.5 million acres in two years and has been at the center of a recent study, published in PLOS One.
In Africa, the fires are mostly linked to agriculture and the management of land. In Africa it is very common to use fire to return nutrients to the soil as well as eliminate unwanted plants. The enriched soil is great for crops and pastures, but fires greatly harm air quality and add to carbon pollution.
The image was created using NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application, and you can check out the interactive version here.
The effects of global warming due to man-made climate change on temperature, precipitation levels, and soil moisture are turning many of our forests into kindling during wildfire season.
Higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier spring snowmelt typically cause soils to be drier for longer, increasing the likelihood of drought and a longer wildfire season, particularly in the western United States.
These hot, dry conditions also increase the likelihood that wildfires will be more intense and long-burning once they are started by lightning strikes or human error.
The costs of wildfires, in terms of risks to human life and health, property damage, and state and federal dollars, are devastating, and they are only likely to increase unless we better address the risks of wildfires and reduce our activities that lead to further climate change.