NASA has released a set of visuals and video showing millions of fire detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instruments onboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites.

The visualizations show fire observations made from space since the year 2002. With the help of a comprehensive research program using satellites, aircraft and ground resources, the space agency detects and analyzes fires across the globe.

This research enables scientists to understand better how fire affects our environment on local, regional and global scales.

What you see here is a very good representation of the satellite data scientists use to understand the global distribution of fires and to determine where and how fire distribution is responding to climate change and population growth, stated Chris Justice of the University of Maryland, College Park, a scientist who leads NASA's effort to use MODIS data to study the world's fires.

NASA maintains multiple satellite instruments capable of detecting fires and supports a wide range of fire-related research. Such efforts have yielded the most widely used data records of global fire activity and burned area in the world.

NASA-supported scientists use the data to advance understanding about Earth's climate system, ecosystem health, and the global carbon cycle.

The agency will also extend the United States' capability to monitor and study global fires from space with the launch this month of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, known as NPP.

The satellite is the first mission designed to collect data to increase our understanding of long-term climate change and improve weather forecasts.

Take a look at some of the fire images.