Earth’s atmosphere contains tiny liquid and solid particles called aerosols. Natural aerosol particles, such as dust and sea salt, tend to be larger than human-produced aerosols, such as particle pollution from burning fossil fuels. These aerosol size maps are based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Green areas show where the aerosols that were present were mostly larger particles. Red areas show where aerosols consisted mostly of small particles. Yellow areas show plumes with an even mix of small and large particles. Gray shows where the sensor did not collect data.
The map of net flux shows monthly changes in the balance of incoming and outgoing energy on Earth as measured by the Clouds and the Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES) sensor on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. Places where the amounts of incoming and outgoing energy were in balance are white. Places where more energy was coming in than going out (energy surplus) are orange. Places where less energy was coming in than going out (energy deficit) are purple.