A combination of lightning and dry forests fueled numerous wildfires in Canada’s Northwest Territories in July 2014. The fires, burning in Canada’s boreal zone, are producing dense smoke. As of July 8, at least 164 blazes had charred more than 425,172 hectares (1,642 square miles), according to the Canadian government. The fires destroyed one home, forced hundreds of people to evacuate, and sent smoke drifting as far south as the continental United States.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of smoke billowing from wildfires near Faber Lake on July 7, 2014. Read more
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland.
On June 16, 2014, a tornadic thunderstorm system moved across portions of northeast Nebraska, producing 5 tornadoes. Four of the tornadoes were rated as EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, meaning that they were violent tornadoes with winds between 166 and 200 miles per hour. One EF-4 tornado spun directly through Pilger, Nebraska, a small town of 350 people, leveling much of the town.
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image of northeast Nebraska on June 21, 2014. Two of the EF-4 tornado tracks are visible in the false-color image (near-infrared, red, green). The tracks are tan paths of bare ground across plant-covered fields, which are red. The towns of Pilger and Wisner are bright white. The lower image, also from the ASTER instrument, shows the region on July 4, 2013. Turn on the comparison tool to contrast the before and after views. Read more
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Kari Beckendorf and Holli Riebeek.
In the first half of June 2014, news accounts described an extreme heatwave in India, as well as the late and somewhat weak arrival of the seasonal monsoon. Air temperatures in New Delhi climbed as high as 48° Celsius (118° Fahrenheit) and stayed above 43°C (110°F) for seven days. Satellite data offer some insights on what was happening on the ground.
The maps above show land surface temperature (LST) anomalies for southern Asia from June 2–9 and June 10–17, 2014. LST anomalies are not absolute temperatures; instead, they show how much the land surface was heated above or below the average. The darkest reds show areas where the ground was as much as 12°C (22°F) above the norm from 2001–2010; blues show areas that were below normal; and grays depicts areas with incomplete data (usually due to excessive cloud cover). Read more
Torrential rain brought deadly floods to southern Brazil and Paraguay in June 2014. The top image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on June 11, 2014, shows flooding in the Paraná River system in Brazil’s Paraná state. The Ivaí, Piquiri, and Paraná rivers are all swollen and muddy from runoff. The lower image, acquired by Terra MODIS on June 12, 2012, shows the river system in non-flood conditions. Turn on the image comparison tool to see the extent of the flooding. Read more
NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.