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Government, Technology | July 5, 2019

NASA’s Satellite Imaging Device Delivers a Powerful View of California Wild Fires

Due to a horrifying combination of low humidity, dry soil, and high winds Southern California has been packed with devastating wild fires in the last five years.

Experts have expressed concerns that infernos to this magnitude will become more and more frequent with climate change gradually making conditions in the Southwest region warmer and drier. Locals have been evacuated and warned to not travel near the path of the recent blaze, but with such dangerous conditions even reporters are threading consciously when attempting to show images of the fire to the public. On Thursday morning NASA’s Earth Observing Data and information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application acquired a closer look to the California blazes using the devices high powered abilities.

NASA’s Landsat 8 (EOSDIS) has the ability to interactively browse over 700 global views, with full resolution satellite imagery layers. The device then downloads the underlying data exceptionally fast for satellite observation. Many of the imagery layers are updated within 3 hours of the observation taking place providing a “real-time” update of the observation sight. Areas of active fire are highlighted and easily pin-pointed with short-infrared light. The EOSIDIS application collects natural-color imaging using the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument. Climatologists utilize tools such as VIIRS data to measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea, and land surface temperature, and fires. This imaging isn’t only impressive, but necessary to inform locals and safety enforcement officials of actively burning fires detected by thermal bands and shown as red points indicated via the satellite image.

The images captured put the raging wild fires into clear perspective showing the rapid spread of smoke from all three blazes. This device reaches new heights of visualization that the average helicopter view cannot capture. Due to the wide range of the satellite, keeping sight on the multiple fires can be done quickly and clearly. The average satellite sends imaging back to earth in 5-10 hours and even with the longer arrival times the resolution of the images just aren’t as accurate compared to NASA’s EOSDIS Landsat 8.

By 8:00 PM local time, NASA’s Landsat 8 was able to capture the wild fires had consumed 20,000 acres of land and latest reports say 70,00 acres of land have been caught in the fires path. The most concerning fact may be that as of latest reports the fire is only 5 percent contained. With the help of NASA’s Landsat 8 southern California locals and us all over the world have a close eye on the progress made to diminish the blaze in its tracks and any prospective areas that may be affected by this devastating event. This is just one of the many instances where technology and innovation is used to inform and make our lives safer.

IT Gurus of Atlanta continues to prove that we are leaders in the technological field and we will keep providing updates on more innovative and inspiring updates in this arena.

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