In the tropical savannas of northern Australia, the months of September-November are referred to as the “build-up.“ The dry season is officially over, but the monsoon has not truly begun. Temperatures and humidity begin to rise—creating such uncomfortable weather that many welcome the monsoon deluges that arrive around December. This is also a time for intense fires, both natural and human-caused ones. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite captured on October 4, 2004, shows numerous large fires across Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Active fires are marked in red, and many are accompanied by thick smoke and large, dark brown bun scars (e.g, in bottom right and just up from bottom center). These fires may not necessarily be immediately hazardous, but they can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources./P>
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.