NASA image: Agricultural fires in India October 18, 2013

Oct 18, 2013
Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC.

The Indian state of Punjab has two growing seasons—one from May to September and another from November to April. In November, Punjab farmers typically sow crops such as wheat and vegetables; but before they do that, farmers often set fire to fields to clear them for planting. That was probably the case on October 18, 2013, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image.

Red outlines show the approximate locations of active burning. Punjab comprises only about 1.6 percent of India's land surface, but thanks to fertile soils and the adoption of agricultural advances, the state grows about one-fifth of India's wheat. Preparing for planting with fire has the benefit of clearing out some pests that eat crops and turning crop residues from the previous season into fertilizing ash.

But the smoke also can harm , aggravating heart and lung disease. Humans evolved in the presence of fire and healthy young adults can generally withstand vegetation smoke. But older adults, children, and people with are at risk. The smoke may include thousands of compounds, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. These components have the potential to affect human health, but exactly how different types of smoke affect people is not yet fully understood.

Explore further: Strong quake hits east Indonesia; no tsunami threat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA image: Agricultural fires in central Africa

Aug 22, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in central Africa on August 21, 2013. The fires are outlined in red. Most of the fires ...

NASA image: Fires in Bolivia Aug. 31, 2013

Sep 03, 2013

Fires burned throughout Bolivia in late August. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on August 31, 2013.

NASA image: Agricultural fires in western Mexico

May 31, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected dozens of fires burning in western Mexico on May 30, 2013. The fires are outlined in red.

NASA image: Agricultural fires dot Mexico

May 03, 2013

In Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Colima, and Jalisco regions (as well as others in the Yucatan Peninsula) of Mexico hundreds of fires were detected by the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite. The location, ...

NASA image: Fires in eastern Russia—Urals and Siberia

Aug 16, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected dozens of fires burning in eastern Russia in this satellite image captured on August 15, 2013. The fires are outlined ...

Recommended for you

Strong quake hits east Indonesia; no tsunami threat

6 hours ago

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Indonesia on Sunday evening, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, and authorities said there was no threat of a tsunami.

Scientists make strides in tsunami warning since 2004

Dec 19, 2014

The 2004 tsunami led to greater global cooperation and improved techniques for detecting waves that could reach faraway shores, even though scientists still cannot predict when an earthquake will strike.

Trade winds ventilate the tropical oceans

Dec 19, 2014

Long-term observations indicate that the oxygen minimum zones in the tropical oceans have expanded in recent decades. The reason is still unknown. Now scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.