Last update: September 18th, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Each red dot represents an area of the earth that is hotter than the area surrounding it and is indicative of fire. Central Africa in this satellite image is teeming with red dots. That signals that agricultural season in this area is in full swing.
The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire as a means of returning nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.
NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite collected this natural-color image using the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument on May 18, 2016. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner