October 17, 2010 - Fires and smoke in northern India

Fires and smoke in northern India

A tight cluster of red dots in northwest India mark sites of actively burning fires. Smoke plumes from these fires blow primarily to the southeast, filling the valley to the south of the Himalaya Mountains with a blanket smoke and haze. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite acquired this true-color image on October 10, 2010 when it passed over the region. Scattered fires also burn in eastern Pakistan.

In this part of India, it is time to harvest the kharif crops, such as paddy (rice), sugarcane, maize and cotton. Kharif crops are planted in the wetter weather, often in July, but are harvested in autumn. For many of these crops, particularly sugarcane, fire is used as an agricultural tool. Given the time of year, the cluster of fires is mostly likely agricultural in origin. The widespread, blanketing haze is primarily smoke from these fires, but may also contain dust and urban air pollution.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 10/10/2010
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC