On these maps, vegetation is pictured as a scale, or index, of greenness. Greenness is based on several factors: the number and type of plants, how leafy they are, and how healthy they are. In places where foliage is dense and plants are growing quickly, the index is high, represented in dark green. Regions where few plants grow have a low vegetation index, shown in tan. The index is based on measurements taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Areas where the satellite did not collect data are gray.
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.