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, AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit, AMSU, senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two instruments make simultaneous observations all the way down to 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, three-dimensional map of atmospheric temperature and humidity, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations, and many other atmospheric phenomena. Launched into Earth orbit in 2002, the AIRS and AMSU instruments fly onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
More information about AIRS can be found at http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov.