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The cloud maps show what fraction of an area was cloudy on average for the month. The measurements were collected by the MODIS sensors on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. Colors range from blue (no clouds) to white (totally cloudy).
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.
View, download, or analyze more of these data from NASA Earth Observations (NEO):
Aerosol Optical Depth