Heat Gauge


After analysing a decade of satellite data on sea surface temperature, researchers have developed a model that can predict fires in the Amazon months in advance. The method uses temperature shifts as small as a quarter of a degree Celsius in the Atlantic, and one degree in the Pacific. In 2010, the scientists used the model for the first time to predict intensity of wildfires. The team saw warmer ocean temperatures and predicted a spike in wildfires, which later occurred. They also accurately forecast drought conditions in the Amazon three to six months later.


Down To Earth, December 2011