Worldview Image of the Week

High Aerosol Index from Canadian Fires

Base corrected reflectance image acquired May 11, 2024, by the VIIRS instrument aboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite and overlaid with Aerosol Index values from the OMPS instrument.

Animation spanning May 11 to 15, 2024, showing high Aerosol Index values associated with Canadian wildfires and wildfire smoke over Canada. The Aerosol Index is a unitless value that ranges from < 0 to >= 5, where 5 (indicated by areas of dark red) indicates heavy concentrations of aerosols that could reduce visibility or impact human health, such as smoke in the lower troposphere (1-3 km above Earth's surface) from biomass burning.

Extremely dry and windy conditions have caused multiple fires in northwest Canada to grow thousands of acres since the weekend. This relatively early start to the Canadian wildfire season comes on the heels of the record-shattering wildfire season of 2023, in which more than 6,132 fires had burned 16.5 million hectares of land (an area larger than the country of Greece) as of September 5, 2023. Normally, an average of 2.5 million hectares of land burn in Canada every year.

As of May 8, 2024, Natural Resources Canada was reporting 823 wildfires that had burned more than 16,100 hectares. Press the play button in the lower left corner of the map (blue button with white triangle) to view the animation or click on the icon in the upper right corner of the image to fully interact with the animation in Worldview.

The base true-color corrected reflectance images were acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite. Overlaid on the base images is the Aerosol Index layer from the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument. This layer indicates the presence of ultraviolet (UV)-absorbing particles in the atmosphere (aerosols) such as soot from burning fires and desert dust; it is related to both the thickness of the aerosol layer located in the atmosphere and to the height of the layer. Near real-time wildfire data and information about individual fires are available through NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) US/Canada.

Visit Worldview to visualize near real-time imagery from NASA's EOSDIS; find more in our Worldview weekly image archive.


NMMIEAI-L2-NRT and OMPS_NPP_NMMIEAI_L2 doi:10.5067/40L92G8144IV


Canada's record-breaking wildfires in 2023: A fiery wake-up call. Natural Resources Canada (2023).

National Wildland Fire Situation Report for May 8, 2024. Natural Resources Canada.

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