NASA maps a decade of fires, a global tour

October 24, 2011  |  Mapping

Using satellite data that goes back to 2002, NASA maps tens of millions of fires worldwide in this global tour.

The tour begins by showing extensive grassland fires spreading across interior Australia and the eucalyptus forests in the northwestern and eastern part of the continent. The tour then shifts to Asia where large numbers of agricultural fires are visible first in China in June 2004, then across a huge swath of Europe and western Russia in August. It then moves across India and Southeast Asia, through the early part of 2005. The tour continues across Africa, South America, and concludes in North America.

Bright shades of yellow indicate hotter fires, and darker shades of green represent higher levels of vegetation. Analyses show that 70 percent of fires occur in Africa, whereas only two percent occur in North America. Fascinating to watch vegetation grow and burn each year.

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