Solar radiation enters the Earth's atmosphere with a portion being scattered by clouds and aerosols.

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Australia Wildfires Observed by CALIPSO and MISR

Australia Wildfires Observed by CALIPSO and MISR

Australia Wildfires Aerosol Optical Depth

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Wildfires in Australia have been raging on for months, starting in September 2019 and intensifying to levels that caused a state of emergency to be declared in November 2019. By December 2019, more than 100,000 square miles of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, had been charred, impacting bush land, wooded areas, national parks, suburban homes, and creating thick smoke plumes in urban hubs.


Each year, there is a fire season during the Australian summer, when hot, dry conditions make it easier for fires to start and spread. However, Australia has been experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, and a heat wave in December broke the record for highest nationwide average temperature. These factors, coupled with strong winds, have made the fires and smoke spread more rapidly.


Recently, a pair of bush fires in Southeastern Australia merged into a “megafire”, engulfing nearly 2,300 square miles (1.5 million acres). Some of the areas the fires have been burning in could take decades or longer to recover, and push some species to the brink of extinction. All these fires emit smoke, consisting of a combination of thousands of compounds, including greenhouse gases. The fires are estimated to have pumped around 400 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere.


Access the full article:  Australia_Wildfires_Microarticle_Notebook.pdf
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