This colorful NASA map of the earth is a map of smoke, dust and other aerosols all over the planet. NASA created the visualization using data from satellites circling the Earth and ground-based sensors, and then added false colors to indicate types of aerosols
Credit: Joshua Stevens / Adam Voiland / NASA
We live our very lives Live one cloud of dust to the next. The air is full of stuff: salt that blows from the sea, soot from forest fires and all sorts of dusty emissions from heavy industry.
Normally the entire aerosolized gunk is invisible to us ̵
NASA combined data from multiple sensors on satellites such as the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensors on Aqua and Terra, as well as ground-based sensors to create a colored image of the aerosol tracks. [Earth Pictures: Iconic Images of Earth from Space]
Some of these dust clouds are the result of weather events. Hurricane Lane near Hawaii and Typhoon Soulik and Cimaron off the coast of Japan have all entered sea salt in the atmosphere. In the Sahara Desert in northwest Africa and the Taklamakan Desert in northwestern China, inland winds have also formed clouds of fine particles.
West North America and South Central Africa show signatures of another type of aerosol: the smoke of forest fires, which is often used by humans – either deliberately as part of annual agricultural cycles in Africa or by carelessness as in North America. Part of this smoke from North America seems to be driven east across the Atlantic Ocean.