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Carbon Monoxide from African Fires
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Widespread fires in West Central Africa produced high levels of pollution that drifted westward over the Atlantic Ocean in June 2004. The false-color image above shows the measure of carbon monoxide in the lower atmosphere averaged for the entire month of June 2004. Red and yellow indicate high carbon monoxide levels, while light and dark blue hues represent low values (the unit here is molecules of carbon monoxide per square centimeter). Carbon monoxide is a good tracer of pollution since it is produced as a by-product of the combustion associated with wildfires and agricultural fires.
The data for this image were collected by the Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.
NASA image by Jesse Allen using data courtesy of NCAR/UCAR MOPITT instrument team