Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features wildfire smoke across a large portion of Alaska in early July, 2022. The most intense fires were located in the central and southern parts of the state, but strong winds had carried smoke far north as well.
“Alaskan summers have long been described as brief and mild. In the early summer of 2022, the word that stood out was smoky,” reports NASA.
“In a scene that was repeated several times in June and early July, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite observed smoke spreading across large portions of Alaska.”
According to NASA, one particularly smoky fire in southwest Alaska hampered visibility on the Seward Peninsula, more than 400 miles to the northwest.
The influx of smoke in Nome led to extremely high particulate matter readings, with an AQI above 700 at times, says Rick Thoman, a climatologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“Alaska surpassed 2 million acres (8000 square kilometers) burned on July 2, 2022, matching the earliest date for the milestone in the past 20 years,” reports NASA.
“On July 5, 2022, the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center reported 210 active fires in the state. Forty-two were large fires with firefighters working on them, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.”
The image was created by Lauren Dauphin, using VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory