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Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation

Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation
Click image to view movie. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
[01-May-18] This visualization follows sea salt, dust, and smoke from July 31 to November 1, 2017, to reveal how these particles are transported across the map. Tracking these aerosols carried by wind let scientists see the currents in our atmosphere. This visualization is a result of combining NASA satellite data with mathematical models that describe the underlying physical processes.

The first thing that is noticeable is how far the particles can travel. Smoke from fires in the Pacific Northwest gets caught in a weather pattern and pulled all the way across the US and over to Europe. Hurricanes form off the coast of Africa and travel across the Atlantic to make landfall in the United States. Dust from the Sahara is blown into the Gulf of Mexico.

Aerosols (including the sea salt, dust and smoke shown in this video) absorb and reflect different fractions of sunlight. The type of aerosols, clouds, and how they interact varies a great deal from place to place and over time. PACE will help to capture a more complete and accurate picture of how much energy the Earth is absorbing from the sun by taking a closer look at these aerosols.