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Four-Day Time Series
A series of fires across Greece in August of 2007 burned 469,000 acres and claimed the lives of 65 people. The fires, in which an estimated 4,000 people lost their homes, mostly occurred in the southern part of the country.
In the visualization (see above), the carbon monoxide signature from the fires in Greece is revealed in data retrieved by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, AIRS. Forest fires create large amounts of carbon monoxide. AIRS provides daily global maps of carbon monoxide from space, allowing scientists to follow the global transport of this gas day-to-day. The visualization covers data retrieved over the period from August 24-28, 2007, and shows the amount of CO that has risen into the broad layer within the free troposphere.
More carbon monoxide generally means more pollution, either natural from wildfires or from industrial and domestic sources.
Beginning August 24, a significant plume emanates from the extensive fires burning in Greece. This plume moves southeast across the Mediterranean Sea and over North Africa from August 24 to 28. It crosses to Africa and arcs westward over the Sahara Desert and continues to curl around over the Eastern Mediterranean toward Sardinia and Corsica.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Experiment (AIRS), with its visible, infrared, and microwave detectors, provides a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather. Working in tandem, the three instruments can make simultaneous observations all the way down to the Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, 3-D map of atmospheric temperature and humidity and provides information on clouds, greenhouse gases, and many other atmospheric phenomena. The AIRS Infrared Sounder Experiment flies onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.