The NOAA National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) has developed a system called Nightfire, which detects and characterizes sub-pixel combustion sources worldwide using nighttime data collected by the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar Partnership (NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). It is the only satellite fire detection system which estimates temperature and source size for biomass burning, gas flares, and volcanoes worldwide on a daily basis.
Christopher D. Elvidge, Ph.D., a Physical Scientist of NGDC, says that, “VIIRS is unique in the recording of near-infrared (NIR) and short-wave infrared (SWIR) data at night in spectral bands designed for daytime imaging. This includes the M7, M8, and M10 spectral bands. The initial detection of combustion sources is made in the VIIRS M10 band, in the short-wave infrared at 1.6 μm. At night the M10 spectral band records the background noise of the instrument, except for the few pixels which contain an infrared emitter, such as a gas flare, biomass burning, or hot lava.