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NASA Scientist to Discuss Climate and Wildfires at Library of Congress Lecture
October 7, 2014

The public is invited to a free talk called “Climate and Wildfires in the 21st Century” with Douglas Morton in the Pickford Theater, third floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Morton, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will be talking about his research using NASA satellite data and climate models, which have projected drier conditions that will likely cause increased fire activity across the United States in coming decades, with an increase in frequency of extreme events (e.g. megafires).

"Satellite data provide important clues to the future of U.S. fire activity," said Morton. "NASA satellites detect actively burning fires, providing key information to resource managers in the U.S. and across the globe. In a sense, it’s like having the world’s tallest fire tower. Over time, NASA data on active fires and burned area help to identify trends—increases and decreases in burned area based on changes in climate, land use and fire management."


Morton works in Goddard’s Earth Science Division that develops and operates remote-sensing satellites and instruments. Morton’s research focuses on vegetation phenology, fire, forest disturbances and land cover change. He is also part of the research team for Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED), which is an effort to combine multiple sources of satellite data to better understand fire activity, greenhouse gas emissions from fires, and changes in savanna and tropical forest ecosystems following fire events.

One outlet for NASA wildfire imagery is NASA’s Fire and Smoke page. The page brings together satellite/aircraft data and analysis that can help firefighters, as well as provide tools for scientists, researchers and the public to learn about the effects and impacts of fire.

The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/.

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world and holds nearly 151.8 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The library serves Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

For inquiries about this or upcoming talks at the Library of Congress, the public can contact the LOC Science, Technology and Business Division at 202-707-5664. ADA accommodations should be requested five business days in advance at 202-707-6382 (voice/tty) or ada@loc.gov.

The lecture will be later broadcast on the Library’s webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist.

For more information visit: http://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/ 

For directions, visit: http://www.loc.gov/visit/maps-and-floor-plans/

For NASA's Fire and Smoke page, visit: www.nasa.gov/fires

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In this video NASA scientist Doug Morton discusses the 2013 wildfire season, as well as future trends for wildfires and how NASA resources are used to help detect and monitor wildfires around the world.
Image Credit: 
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/M. Handleman
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Page Last Updated: October 7th, 2014
Page Editor: Rob Garner