Forest Fires

The usefulness of weather satellites are not limited to meteorological observations alone. Their camera systems, sensors and their global coverage enable them to perform a variety of non-meteorological tasks as well. These are detection of forest fires, the tracking of locust clouds, observing volcanoes etc. The sensors of weather satellite enable detection of forest fires characterized by a dull, hazy appearance as in the case of dust. Detection becomes difficult in VIS imagery if the smoke is not prominent. Under such condition it might be possible to spot the fire in IR imagery by sensing the thermal radiation given off. But the detection depends on the intensity of forest fire, its extent, the resolution of the satellite, presence or absence of clouds etc. If a thick cloud system covers the area of forest fire or if clouds have been generated by hot air rising above the forest fire zone it may not be possible to detect forest fires efficiently.

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