This image is taken from a computer simulation of the transport of aerosols - fine solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in a gas - around the Earth's atmosphere. It was created using the Goddard Earth Observing System Model, run on NASA's Discover supercomputer, located at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The orange band across the center of the image shows sand blown from the Saharan and Arabian deserts. The pale blue swirls show sea salt swirling around cyclones and the green 'smoke' represents black carbon and organic carbon spewed out by extensive fires across Africa and southeast Australia. Sulphate particles, produced by both industry and volcanic eruptions, can also be seen in the image in white.
You can watch a video of this simulation on the NASA Visualization Explorer Website.
- Andrew Purcell