Simulating aerosol transport in the Earth's atmosphere
This simulation from NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office depicts the transport of aerosols around the Earth between September 2006 - April 2007. Aerosols play an important role in both weather and climate by scattering and reflecting solar and terrestrial radiation. The simulation was conducted on the GEOS-5 system using data collected from various NASA satellites.
The different colors indicate different types of aerosols: dust is orange/red, sea salt is blue, organic and black carbon with green to yellow to white, and sulfates with ash brown to white. The yellow and red dots are wildfires and/or human-initiated burns detected by NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites.
The most substantial aerosol releases are the dust (red) blowing westward from the Sahara Desert and the organic releases (green) from the rainforests of South America and Africa. The black carbon released from wildfires appears as white smoke. It's fascinating to see the global wind patterns create ornate twirls with the sea salt aerosols.
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