Smoke from Fires in Chile Blanket Central West Coast

Smoke from Fires in Chile Blanket Central West Coast

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite captured this true-color image of a huge plume of smoke rising into the atmosphere off the coast of central Chile on January 27, 2017.

According to National Geographic, strong winds and minimal humidity have created perfect conditions for wildfire in the region, which has been suffering droughts for the past eight years. In addition, Chile is said to lack adequate resources to combat the blazes, which as of January 27, numbered more than 75 and had burned more than 700,000 acres.

Although true-color images like this may look like photographs, they aren’t. True-color imagery is created by combining VIIRS’s color channels that are sensitive to the red, green and blue (or RGB) wavelengths of light. In addition, several other channels are often also included to cancel out atmospheric interference, such as clouds and aerosols, which can cause a blurry picture.

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