Aerosol Particle Radius (1 month - Terra/MODIS, 2005-16)

Aerosol Particle Radius (1 month - Terra/MODIS, 2005-16) | NASA

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About this dataset

Tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere are called aerosols. These particles are important to scientists because they can affect climate, weather, and people's health. Some aerosols come from natural sources, such as dust, volcanic eruptions, and sea salts. Some aerosols are produced by humans, such as pollution from industries or automobiles, or smoke from fires. Using satellites scientists can tell whether a given plume of aerosols came from a natural source, or if is pollution produced by people. Two important clues about aerosols' sources are particle size and location of the plume. Natural aerosols (such as dust and sea salts) tend to be larger particles than man-made aerosols (such as smoke and industrial pollution).

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September 2016

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What do the colors mean?

In these maps, red areas show aerosol plumes made up of smaller particles. These red-colored plumes are over regions where we know humans produce pollution. Green areas show aerosol plumes made up of larger particles. These green-colored plumes are over regions where we know aerosols occur naturally. Yellow areas show plumes in which large and small aerosol particles are intermingling. Black shows where the satellite could not measure aerosols.


This data set is no longer being processed.

Related Websites



MODIS Atmospheres Science Team

Earthdata on MODIS

Further Reading

Aerosol Size

Aerosols: Tiny Particles, Big Impacts

Distinguishing Natural Aerosols from Human Pollution

ATBD (Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document)

Remote Sensing of Tropospheric Aerosol from MODIS


Imagery produced by the NASA Earth Observations team based on data provided by the MODIS Atmosphere Science Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Federal Geographic Data Committee Geospatial Metadata

View the FGDC Metatdata for Aerosol Particle Radius (1 month - Terra/MODIS, 2005-16)

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