Aerosol Optical Thickness (8 day - Aqua/MODIS)

Aerosol Optical Thickness (8 day - Aqua/MODIS) | NASA

Dataset you are currently viewing:

Select Year 

About this dataset

Tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere are called aerosols. Examples of aerosols include windblown dust, sea salts, volcanic ash, smoke from fires, and pollution from factories. These particles are important to scientists because they can affect climate, weather, and people's health. Aerosols affect climate by scattering sunlight back into space and cooling the surface. Aerosols also help cool Earth in another way -- they act like "seeds" to help form clouds. The particles give water droplets something to cling to as the droplets form and gather in the air to make clouds. Clouds give shade to the surface by reflecting sunlight back into space. People's health is affected when they breathe in smoke or pollution particles. Such aerosols in our lungs can cause asthma or cancer of other serious health problems. But scientists do not fully understand all of the ways that aerosols affect Earth's environment. To help them in their studies, scientists use satellites to map where there were large amounts of aerosol on a given day, or over a span of days.

Currently viewing:

January 1 - 8, 2023

Downloads info

File Type:
1.0 degrees 360 x 180 download
0.5 degrees 720 x 360 download
0.25 degrees 1440 x 720 download
0.1 degrees 3600 x 1800 download
CSV for Excel older than 2007 download

What do the colors mean?

In the maps shown here, dark brown pixels show high aerosol concentrations, while tan pixels show lower concentrations, and light yellow areas show little or no aerosols. Black shows where the sensor could not make its measurement.

Get Data

MODIS Aerosol Optical Thickness data from NASA Giovanni

Related Websites

MODIS Atmospheres Science Team

Earthdata on MODIS



Further Reading

Aerosol Optical Depth

Aerosol Blanket Likely Thinned During the 1990s

Measuring Aerosols

Airborne Particle Levels Plummet in Northern India

Dust Traverses the Atlantic Ocean

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 Optical Thickness (8 day - Aqua/MODIS)

Quick Tip

View another tip

Contact Us

Need to get a hold of someone at NEO? Just fill out the form below.

Trouble with this form? Submit your comment here.