Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Aerosols on your mind - visit the NASA Giovanni-4 Portal

Just when I thought the science visualization tools from NASA couldn't get any better, I stumble across this: Giovanni-4, the Next Generation of Giovanni, with improved functionality for interactive data analysis and mapping.  This new addition to Giovanni contains certain aerosol, hydro & turbulent flux data, with more to come.  Within a few minutes of playing around in this new instance of Giovanni, I really like this direction. 

The severity of air pollution in China (and elsewhere) has received a great deal of attention lately, and NASA's suite of visualization tools are a good way to track the development of aerosol plumes, and examine the occurrences in light of industrial activity, as well as developing and prevailing atmospheric processes.  The three maps above are weekly maps for the first three weeks in March, and the extent of aerosol pollution is clear across most of eastern China.  The scale below refers to the pixel shades and their interpretation.  Optical thickness values in the 0.1 range (yellow shades) are indicative of clear skies, while values in the 0.8-0.9 range (red-brown) represent significant haze and smog.  The data in these maps was captured from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on the NASA Terra satellite.


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