Video Of Earth Painted By Atmospheric Particles Looks Like A Trippy Van Gogh

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]

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