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Earth throws a rave in NASA's latest wildlife visualization



Seriously. Look at it.
Image: NASA Earth Observatory

If there is a lesson from 201

8, we live in hell. This is canon. But leave it to NASA for hell to look quite spectacular and maybe even a place I want to live on.

We've seen record forest fires, powerful hurricanes, and massive clouds of dust moving across our beautiful planet this summer. And while their effects on the ground are clear, they also leave a clear mark in the atmosphere. Soot from forest fires, sea salt in storms and, well, dust are all known as aerosols. And thanks to all-seeing satellites, we have the ability to track them in near real-time. Earthbound sensors add another layer to our understanding of what's going on.

If you use this data and run it through a high resolution model, you will get a good rapprochement with all the stuff in our atmosphere every day. The image above, created by NASA Earth Observatory, shows Thursday. Red stands for soot, purple for dust and blue for sea salt. So you know, it was a normal day on Earth with two typhoons in Asia, a hurricane that threatened Hawaii, soot and soot that hit North America and Europe, and dust that whirled through the deserts of the planet. Opposite the dark outlines of the earth, the aerosols appear like a psychedelic light show that would make Zedd jealous.

These are just natural aerosols – at least as much as anything natural can be called in a world altered by climate change – that satellites can see. There are also many aerosols of human activities.

It has not even brought news, but Central Africa is also swamped in smoke by farmers clearing land for crops. And those little glowing spots in China, the eastern US, India and Europe? These are cities where air pollution from cars and buildings is strong enough to send a clear signal to satellites. The visualization also layers on nightlight data and serves as another reminder of the impact of humanity on the Earth. And seeing such a visualization is a good reminder to all of us that the earth is a very special place that we call home.


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