NOAA/NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured two images that tell the story about the smoke coming off the fires in California.
NOAA/NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured two images that tell the story about the smoke coming off the fires in California. One instrument on the provided a visible image of the smoke, while another analyzed the aerosol content within. The images were captured on August 30, 2020.
The first image(s) captured by the Suomi NPP satellite using the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) Corrected Reflectance imagery shows a true-color image (called true-color or natural color because this combination of wavelengths is similar to what the human eye would see) of the wildfires still burning across large swaths of the state. One of the images is with labels and one is without. Smoke is pouring off the fires and traveling in two different directions. Some of the smoke is traveling northeast into Nevada and as far east (in this image) as Salt Lake City, Utah, and some is traveling west into the Pacific Ocean.
The second image was captured by Suomi NPP with the OMPS Aerosol Indexer and shows not only the direction of the smoke’s travel but the thickness of the aerosol layer that has moved outward from the fires. The OMPS (Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite) Aerosol Indexer on Suomi NPP is an instrument that indicates the presence of ultraviolet-absorbing particles in the air coming from dust (desert) or, as in this case, soot from fires. The Aerosol Indexer found on the image as a scale is unitless, that is, the lowest and highest range do not relate directly to each other. It just indicates whether the scale is low or high. In this image of smoke coming off the California fires, the aerosols found were mostly in the moderate range (yellow) with some higher range areas (red). Higher concentrations can reduce visibility and impact human health. The Aerosol index is also useful for tracking long-range transport of these aerosols that move along jet streams.
Read more at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Image: This image taken by Suomi NPP on August 30, 2020 shows the smoke and fires in California. (Credit: NOAA/NASA)