As fall moves toward winter, the continental-scale biomass burning across Africa shifts from areas south of the equator to northern areas. Biomass burning in southern Africa peaks in late summer, while burning season in the north peaks in January or February. Both the Sahel (a strip of transitional vegetation between the Sahara Desert to the north and the tropical savannas to the south) and the savannas are subject to agricultural burning as people clear land for farming and to regenerate pasture.
This image of western Africa shows widespread biomass burning (red dots) detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on November 24, 2002.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.