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Tropical biomass burning and associated emissions of aerosols into the atmosphere play a vital role in atmospheric perturbation and climate change. This letter aims at investigating the impact of forest fires on aerosol concentration over the northeast region of India, with the use of satellite data. The forests of northeast India are subjected to severe fire episodes during the January-May period every year mainly due to slash-and-burn agricultural practices. Daily active forest fire locations over the northeastern region were derived using nighttime satellite data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-Operational Line Scan system. These data were compared with variations in the aerosol index derived from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer along with the aerosol optical depth derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. The analysis covered the period January-May 2006. The satellite data analysis suggested a maximum number of forest fires between February and April. The results clearly suggested a significant correlation between forest fire occurrences and variations in the aerosol concentrations over the study region.
Date of Publication: July 2007