Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows a thermal anomaly, which is a region of the Earth’s surface that is unusually warm, several hundred kilometers off the coast of Brazil.
The thermal anomaly was remotely detected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite.
Most of the hotspots detected by VIIRS are caused by fires. However, this thermal anomaly has been flagged in the middle of the ocean.
Patricia Oliva, a scientist at Universidad Mayor, explained that the visible heat was most likely caused by a weakness in the Earth’s magnetic field known as the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly (SAMA).
As a result of SAMA, much of South America and part of the South Atlantic Ocean are exposed to an increased level of radiation.
This nighttime image was captured by VIIRS on July 14, 2017.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory