Wildfires in Greenland seen by Sentinel-3

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Wildfires in Greenland were observed by Sentinel-3 on 15 July 2019. They re-ignited on 10 August in the same area close to Sisimiut, the second largest town in Greenland.

Date & Time
15 July 2019 14:50 UTC and 12 August 14:50 UTC
True Colour RGB

By Federico Fierli (EUMETSAT), Ilaria Parodi (SCISYS) and Michael Skalabek Kamp (DMI)

Both the wildfires outbreak could be clearly seen on Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour RGB imagery (see Figures 1 and 2). By 12 August Danish firefighters had been called in to tackle the second blaze and extinguish it.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour RGB, 15 July 14:50 UTC. The plume is indicated by the red arrow.
Figure 2
Figure 2: Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour RGB, 12 August 14:50 UTC. The smoke plume originates from the same area as in Figure 1.

Wildfires are a growing problem on Greenland, despite the lack of forests, due to the drying of tundra and the increasing number of tourists.

Satellite data helps in monitoring and supporting this new phenomenon, which has been poorly observed in the past. In fact, the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) helps the authorities on Greenland, by providing special weather forecasts for the area. Twice a day they send nine different wind charts reaching 36 hours ahead and with a comment from the forecaster. DMI forecasters on Greenland have held some ad hoc briefings with Joint Arctic Commando about the weather.


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