Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)

#GS3 #Science #Technology


The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite has captured fires burning across a vast swathe of Bolivia.

  • The fires have been burning in the Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland in the world which is located in the eastern part of Bolivia.
  • Fires also blazed in the dry Chiquitano forest in southeast Bolivia and the Beni savanna and Amazon rainforest areas in the north.



  • NASA attributed the fires to a prolonged drought as well as a recent heatwave that “has turned vegetation to tinder”.
  • The drought has been blamed on warm temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean that have caused moisture to shift to the Northern Hemisphere.



  • MODIS is a payload imaging sensor that was launched into Earth orbit by NASA in 1999 onboard the Terra (EOS AM) satellite and in 2002 onboard the Aqua (EOS PM) satellite.
  • The instruments capture data in 36 spectral bands ranging in wavelength from 0.4 μm to 14.4 μm and at varying spatial resolutions.
  • The instruments image the entire Earth every 1 to 2 days.
  • They are designed to provide measurements in large-scale global dynamics including changes in Earth's cloud cover, radiation budget, and processes occurring in the oceans, on land, and in the lower atmosphere.
  • With its low spatial resolution but high temporal resolution, MODIS data are useful to track changes in the landscape over time.


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