Monday, October 22, 2007

Please Send Rain

We are burning up.

This image of the wildfires in southern California was taken by the NASA Terra satellite during this afternoon's overpass. I am not sure if the plumes in northern Mexico are dust or smoke. The color shift occurs when images from two satellite overpasses are stitched together. Areas which are very bright in the infrared (hotspots) are marked in red.

The largest and waviest plume comes from the Witch Fire in Poway.

See more imagery by visiting the NASA MODIS Rapid Response System website:
Global Subsets: click on your region of interest
USA5 Subset
The subset data has a slight time delay. For the latest imagery, use the Near Real-time Imagery Browser page.

Hint: Aura flies overhead at roughly 1:30 local time. Convert your local time to UTC time to obtain an approximate time to browse first. Then go a little earlier or later until you find what you want. Remember that visible imagery will be available during the early afternoon overpass but not the post midnight one.

The CIMSS Satellite Blog shows an animation of smoke plumes seen from the GOES (geostationary) satellite. It is kind of mesmerizing to see the smoke plumes undulate.


  1. I hope the fires don't directly affect you too much, Grace. I remember my first year at Caltech, the fires were raging in the hills of Altadena (where a lot of the professors lived, incidentally). We'd go up on the roof of Millikan library and watch the fires. It rained ash a couple of days - as if the Pasadena area needed to compromise its air quality any more!

  2. We are mostly fine. Thanks for asking.

    Like I explained in Fire is a river that runs uphill, we live in the flatlands, far, far away from the fire prone mountainous areas. We just pay higher taxes and insurance premiums so other people can live in dangerous areas.

  3. That is an awesome really shows how the Santa Ana winds work. I wish I had time in class this year to go over land sea-air movement.


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