What is Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) alert?

The Global Forest Watch recently reported that India recorded 82,170 forest fire alerts between April 1, 2021 and April 14, 2021. This is nearly double the number reported during the same period in 2020. The alert was based on the data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).

What is VIIRS?

VIIRS is a weather monitoring equipment placed in satellites orbiting the earth. It is basically a sensor, that was designed and manufactured by Raytheon company. It collects imagery and radiometric measurements of atmosphere, land, cryosphere and oceans. The data is collected in visible and infrared bands of electromagnetic spectrum.

VIIRS is placed in Suomi National Polar orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) and NOAA-20 weather satellites.

Objective

The VIIRS is mainly used to monitor and investigate changes and properties in surface vegetation. The combination of MODIS, VIIRS and AVHRR help in assessing impacts of climate change on the earth surface.

MODIS is Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. AVHRR is Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer.

Application

From the combined data of MODIS, AVHRR and VIIRS, two sets of data are generated. They are as follows:

  • One set of data is produced by the National Polar Orbiting Partnership (NOAA). It provides data to be used by National Weather services.
  • The other set of data is generated by NASA. It is to be used by scientific communities located in different parts of the world.

Background

In January 2019, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched FAST. FAST will monitor forest fires in India using real time information from VIIRS. FAST is Fire Alert System.

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