Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Global Wildfire Map

Over the last couple of years we have begun to see how global heating is already leading to more widespread and intense wildfire seasons in Australia, California and Africa. Kontur's Global Fires interactive map is a new tool which visualizes the past year's global fire data. It also can be used to visualize smoke pollution during wildfire seasons around the world. 

The Global Fires map consists of two main views. Using the 'Fire (last year)' option you can view global fire data for the past year. If you press the play button on the timeline you can actually watch over a year's worth of global wildfire activity play-out on the map. This timeline visualization clearly shows the intense fires which burned in Australia in early 2020, in California during the summer and in Africa during both spring and fall.

The other main view of Global Fires is the 'Air Quality (now)' option. This allows you to view the current data from air quality monitors across the world. I'm now sure how effective this map would actually be if you were caught in a wildfire. I certainly don't think it will be a effective enough to justify Kontur's claim that it will enable you "to find a breathable spot nearby if you have fires outside your window" (in fact that claim is wildly irresponsible). However the Air Quality view does provide a neat overview of the current air pollution levels around the world. It certainly isn't detailed enough to be useful on the ground during an active wildfire. 

No comments: