We saw a still earlier this week, but this NASA visualisation video is truly awesome. It shows how aerosols — fine particles suspended in air — travel around the world in a van Gogh-ish dance of colour. This is what you are seeing here:
- The red tones represent dust dispersed by the wind, some coming from African deserts.
- Sea salt is represented by blue (yes, salt floats suspended above the sea too, thanks to cyclones).
- Sulphate streams, in white, come from erupting volcanoes.
- And organic carbon, from fires, is represented in green.
The visualisation — made with a climate model by NASA Goddard's Global modelling and Assimilation Office — goes from August 2006 to April 2007. According to NASA, "such simulations allow scientists to better understand how these tiny particulates travel in the atmosphere and influence weather and climate." [NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center]