If you step outside in the morning and breathe deeply, you may feel refreshed and energized. Of course, if you're in the middle of a big city, you only smell exhaust fumes and sewer fumes, and a new image released by NASA shows that what is hidden in "a fresh nose" can vary enormously from place to place.
The image captured and merged by a number of NASA satellites shows how vast the clouds of tiny particles that cover our planet are real. It's a map of aerosols – no, not exactly the kind that makes your spray-on deodorant possible, but a little bit.
"If you've ever seen smoke from a wildfire, as it erupts from a volcano or dust blowing in the wind, you've seen aerosols," NASA explains in a new blog post. "Satellites such as NASA's Earth observation satellites, Terra, Aqua, Aura and Suomi NPP," see "them too, although they offer a completely different perspective than hundreds of kilometers above the Earth's surface." A version of a NASA model called the Goddard Earth Observing System Forward Processing (GEOS FP) offers a comparable expansive view of the mix of particles that dance and swirl through the atmosphere. "
These small particles consist of all kinds of different types of material. The wispy blue swirls over the ocean are salty sea spray startled by winds, while the bright red brushstrokes are black carbon residues that are entrained by forest fires or made by vehicles or industrial factories. The purple areas are what NASA & # 39; s instruments have identified as "fabric."
Much of the material you see in this image flies high above our heads, and while those who are directly under the clouds do not breathe it – at least not immediately – these particles have to come down somewhere. Weather patterns can push clouds such as these much closer to the ground, affecting air quality and causing problems for people with respiratory diseases.