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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.
The water vapor maps show the total amount of water vapor in the column of air between the surface and the top of the atmosphere on average for the month. The observations were made by the MODIS sensor on NASA's Aqua satellite. Places where the air was dry are white, while places where water vapor was abundant are blue.
View, download, or analyze more of these data from NASA Earth Observations (NEO):
Land Surface Temperature Anomaly