Fires and Smoke in New South Wales, Australia
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the southeastern Australia on Jan. 17, 2013, and captured plumes of smoke from fires near Alpine and Snowy River National Parks as the New South Wales reached near record high temperatures.
On Jan. 18, a record high temperature was recorded at Sydney, Australia's Observatory Hill where the mercury peaked at 45.8 C (114.4 F) according to Yahoo News, Australia. The old record of 45.3 C (113.5 F) dated back to Jan. 14, 1939. The scorching heat has caused tinder dry conditions that have fueled wildfires in New South Wales and Victoria.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) issued a Fire Weather Warning for the Australian Capital Territory on Friday, Jan. 18, where there is severe fire danger. ABM also issued a Fire Weather Warning for the Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Far South Coast, Monaro Alpine, Southern Ranges, Central Ranges, Lower Central West Plains, Southern Slopes, Eastern Riverina, Southern Riverina and Northern Riverina fire areas. The Brisbane Times reported on Jan. 7 that a total fire ban was declared throughout the state of New South Wales and that was still in effect on Jan. 18.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured the image of smoke and fires at 2335 UTC (6:35 p.m. EST/U.S.). The smoke appears to be a light brown color. The multiple red pixels are heat signatures (red) detected by MODIS. The image is false-colored to make the red areas stand out more. A large thick plume of smoke appears to be streaming from multiple fires near the Alpine National Park and accumulating over the Tasman Sea.
Image credit: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team.
Text credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Rob Gutro