A Portrait of Earth’s Dirty Atmosphere
In the case of this image, GEOS-5 is modeling the presence of aerosols (solid or liquid particles suspended in gas) across the Earth’s atmosphere. Each of the colors represents a different aerosol: Red is dust (swept up from deserts, like the Sahara); Blue is sea salt, swirling inside cyclones; Green is smoke from forest fires; and white is sulfates, which bubble forth from volcanoes — and from burning fossil fuels. The full-size version of the image is particularly mesmerizing, with beautiful swirls of Saharan sand in the Atlantic, and perhaps the tail end of the Gulf Stream circling around Iceland.
A full size version of this image can be downloaded here.