RETO STOCKLI / NASA'S EARTH OBSERVATORY / MODIS ATMOSPHERE SCIENCE TEAM / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RETO STOCKLI / NASA'S EARTH OBSERVATORY / MODIS ATMOSPHERE SCIENCE TEAM / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Atmospheric aerosol distribution. Satellite image showing the global distribution of aerosol particles in August 2015. Aerosols are tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere. These particles are important to scientists as they can affect climate, weather and health. Some aerosols come from natural sources, whereas some are produced by humans. Using satellites, scientists can tell whether a given plume of aerosols came from a natural or man-made source. Here, red areas show aerosol plumes consisting of smaller particles - found over regions where we know humans produce pollution. Green areas show aerosol plumes made up of larger particles - over regions where we know aerosols occur naturally. Yellow areas show plumes in which large and small aerosol particles are intermingling. Black shows where the satellite could not measure aerosols. Imaged obtained by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua.
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