NASA's MISR Instrument Detects Smoke Plumes Over Northern California
On August 18, 2021, at 12:10 p.m. local time, the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) instrument captured imagery of the McCash, Antelope, River Complex, Monument, and Dixie fires as it passed overhead aboard NASA's Terra satellite. Combined, the fires had burned over 1 million acres as of August 24, 2021.
MISR has nine cameras that view Earth at different angles. The right side of the image shows smoke from the five fires as observed by MISR's nadir (downward-pointing) camera. The multi-angular information from MISR's images is used to calculate the height of the smoke plumes. The results of those calculations are shown on the left side of the image. Smoke from areas in red reached an altitude of at least 9,842 feet (3,000 meters). The highest plume top near the active fires reached approximately 19,685 feet (6,000 meters). In general, higher-altitude plumes like this one transport smoke greater distances from the source, impacting communities downwind. In recent weeks, smoke from fires in the Western U.S. and Canada has impacted much of the East Coast.
This data was acquired during Terra orbit 115254. The smoke plume height calculation was performed using the publicly available MISR INteractive eXplorer (MINX)software tool. The MISR Plume Height Project maintains a database of global smoke plume heights, accessible here.
MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Southern California, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Terra spacecraft is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The MISR data was obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center in Hampton, Virginia. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena.