Anyone living in the western part of the US knows that this was a terrible forest fire season. Much of the state of Colorado has gone up in flames, often because of the stupidity of campers lighting fires in the fire ban, or people throwing burning cigarettes out of the car windows. California has suffered some similar fire problems this summer.
The smoke in Colorado was so severe that air quality warnings were issued and some days it's difficult to see the mountains just a few miles away because of the smoky haze. This image is from NASA and it shows a colorful representation of smoke, dust and other aerosols that are in the atmosphere around the planet.
The orange color that covers much of the western US is smoke from these forest fires. The image was created using data combined from multiple sensors on satellites orbiting the Earth, including the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensors on Aqua and Terra satellites. Data was also collected from ground sensors to create this colored image.
Some of the dust clouds seen in the picture are the result of weather patterns such as Hurricane Lane and typhoons off the coast of Japan. We can also see in the picture that the strong smoke from forest fires in the western US has drifted across the ocean.
The key tells us that the brilliant orange is black carbon from these fires, the purple is dust and the white-blue areas are sea salt. The picture shows conditions as they will be seen on August 23, 2018. This image was created entirely with math to bring together data from the different sensors and the colors are artificial.