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This animation is made from a series of images created with data from the AIRS instrument. The animation spans 10 days beginning on April 7, 2006 and ending on April 16. The magenta color in the images represents where AIRS detects dust in the atmosphere. The images are preliminary as scientists work on verifying the accuracy of the AIRS ability to detect dust, and an effort to cross-compare the AIRS results with what other sensors see is just getting under way. However, the spatial consistency and temporal evolution we see in the AIRS data look plausible, even over land.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) sense emitted infrared and microwave radiation from the Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two 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, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations, and many other atmospheric phenomena. The AIRS and AMSU fly onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and are managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
The AIRS Public Web site can be found at http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov.