Snow and ice influence climate by reflecting sunlight back into space. When it melts, snow is a source of water for drinking and vegetation; too much snowmelt can lead to floods. These maps show average snow cover by month.
In addition to making rain and snow, clouds can have a warming or cooling influence depending on their altitude, type, and when they form. These maps show what fraction of an area was cloudy each month.
Airborne aerosols can cause or prevent cloud formation and harm human health. These maps depict aerosol concentrations in the air based on how the tiny particles reflect or absorb visible and infrared light.
These maps show the average amount of water vapor in a column of atmosphere by month. Water vapor is the key precursor for rain and snow and one of the most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Greenness is an important indicator of health for forests, grasslands, and farms. The greenness of a landscape, or vegetation index, depends on the number and type of plants, how leafy they are, and how healthy they are.
Whether started by humans (farming, logging, or accidents) or by nature (lightning), fires are always burning somewhere on Earth. These maps show the locations of fires burning around the world each month.
These maps depict anomalies in land surface temperatures (LSTs); that is, how much hotter or cooler a region was compared to the long-term average. LST anomalies can indicate heat waves or cold spells.
Chlorophyll is used by algae and other phytoplankton--the grass of the sea--to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugars. These maps show chlorophyll concentrations in the ocean, revealing where phytoplankton are thriving.
Net radiation is the balance between incoming and outgoing energy at the top of the atmosphere. It is the total energy available to influence climate after light and heat are reflected, absorbed, or emitted by clouds and land.
These maps show the ‘metabolism” of Earth’s plants and trees. Net primary productivity is the difference between the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed during photosynthesis minus the amount released by respiration.
Sea salt, volcanic ash, dust, wildfire smoke, and industrial pollution are types of airborne aerosols. Natural aerosols tend to be larger than human-made aerosols. These maps show when and where aerosols come from nature, humans, or both.
These maps depict how much hotter or cooler an ocean basin was compared to the long-term average. Temperature anomalies can indicate changes in ocean circulation or the arrival of patterns like El Niño and La Niña.