The aerosol maps show average monthly aerosol amounts around the world based on observations from the MODIS sensor on NASA's Terra satellite. Satellite measurements of aerosols, called aerosol optical thickness, are based on the fact that the particles change the way the atmosphere reflects and absorbs visible and infrared light. An optical thickness of less than 0.1 (palest yellow) indicates a crystal clear sky with maximum visibility, whereas a value of 1 (reddish brown) indicates very hazy conditions.
Land surface temperature is how hot the “surface” of the Earth would feel to the touch in a particular location. From a satellite’s point of view, the “surface” is whatever it sees when it looks through the atmosphere to the ground. It could be snow and ice, the grass on a lawn, or the roof of a building. These maps compare daytime land surface temperatures in a particular month to the average temperatures for that month from 2000-2008. Places that were warmer than average are red, places that were near normal are white, and places that were cooler than average are blue. The observations were collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
View, download, or analyze more of these data from NASA Earth Observations (NEO):
Aerosol Optical Depth
Land Surface Temperature Anomaly