Smoke from multiple wildfires burning in Southern California, together with dust in Southern California, Baja California and mainland Mexico, swirl out into the Pacific and Gulf of California, respectively, in this false-color visible image from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder on NASA's Aqua satellite, acquired at about 7 p.m. Eastern Time on October 22. Strong Santa Ana winds are fanning the wildfires, among the most destructive in recent memory.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Experiment, 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.