Fires continue to burn throughout southeast Asia. The Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument
aboard NASA’s Terra satellite has been monitoring the impact of these intense local pollution sources on regional air
quality through measurements of carbon monoxide in the lower atmosphere. Carbon monoxide is a good tracer of
pollution since it is produced as a by-product of the combustion associated with the wildfires and agricultural fires that are
widespread throughout the region at this time of year. This false-color image shows carbon monoxide plumes at an
altitude of roughly 3 km (700 millibars) in the atmosphere over southeast Asia. This image represents a composite of data
collected from February 27-March 4, 2003. The gray areas show where no data were collected, either due to persistent
cloud cover or gaps between viewing swaths.
Image courtesy the NCAR and University of Toronto MOPITT Teams
The intense biomass burning in Southeast Asia, ongoing for the last several months, has released high levels of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere over the region, as measured by the Terra MOPITT sensor from April 3-13, 2003.