Wildfires in Northern Australia
acquired October 6, 2012 download large image (655 KB, JPEG, 1800x1400)

In early October 2012, intense bushfires blazed in Australia’s Northern Territory, in a remote area northeast of Elliott. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of smoke from the fires streaming northeast on October 6, 2012. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires.

The bright spots within the largest smoke plume are the tops of pyrocumulus clouds. Such clouds form when intense heat from a fire pushes air rapidly upward, causing water vapor in the air to cool and condense into clouds. Pyrocumulus clouds sometimes generate intense thunderstorms that can either dampen the flames with drenching rains or propel the fire with strong winds.

Wildfires are quite common in this part of Australia. Some areas, such as the savanna woodlands in the northern part of Northern Territory, burn nearly every year.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland.

Instrument(s): 
Aqua - MODIS

Wildfires in Northern Australia

Share
Image Location
Image Location
More in this Event (view all)
Left
Wildfires in Northern Australia Wildfires in Australia Fires Across Cape York Peninsula Wildfires in Tasmania Wildfires in New South Wales Australia on Fire Nighttime Fires near Alice Springs, Central Australia Burn Scar from the Yarrabin Fire in New South Wales Bushfire Burn Scar near Dunalley, Tasmania Giblin River Fire Burn Scar in Tasmania Saving Siding Spring Observatory Fires in Southeastern Australia
Right