Studying Wildfires from Space

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Ontology Tags

Classes Space Exploration: Exploring Earth from Space – Satellites Watching Earth | Climate & Weather: (1) Natural Disasters – Fire & Wildfires (2) Weather Far & Wide – Satellites & Technology

Goals Challenging Problems: Physical World – (1) Space Exploration (2) Climate & Weather (3) Investigating Earth | CTEs & Disciplines: Environmental Engineering


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NASA’s Eyes on Extreme Weather

An extreme weather event is something that falls outside the realm of normal weather patterns. It can range from super powerful hurricanes to torrential downpours to extended hot dry weather and more. NASA uses airborne and space-based platforms, in conjunction with those from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, to monitor these events and the ways in which our changing climate is contributing to them. NASA makes this data available to the public, and students can use it to understand extreme weather events happening in their regions, learn more about weather and climate in general, and design plans for resilience and mitigation.

The Science of Wildfires

Because of their prevalence and effects on a wide population, wildfires will remain a seasonal teachable moment for decades to come. Follow these links to learn about NASA’s fire research and see images of current fires from space. Check out the information and lessons below to help students learn how NASA scientists use technology to monitor and learn about fires and their impacts.

Fired Up Over Math: Studying Wildfires from Space

In this activity, students learn how scientists assess wildfires using remote sensing. Students then use some of the same techniques to solve grade-level appropriate math problems.

Pixels on Fire

In this activity, students use measurement and area skills to learn about remote detection of wildfires from space. After detecting mock wildfires with mobile devices, students then study satellite-data visualizations to determine the start dates of actual California wildfires.


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Extreme Weather on Earth and Other Planets

Students investigate extreme weather on Earth and other planets, learn about instruments used to measure weather, and design a space probe that will gather weather information on another planet.

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