Today, AirNow reported moderate PM2.5 concentrations in the Great Lakes region, the Carolinas, Louisiana and Texas (top left). In the west coast, moderate to unhealthy PM2.5 levels were reached in California and Washington. According to HMS, an area of blowing dust is visible in Southern California extending west from Agua Caliente County Park across the Salton Sea to Blythe, California. Moreover, dust is visible in western Kansas/eastern Colorado moving north into Nebraska. This is consistent with 15-20kt southerly winds seen in surface observations. The originating areas in Colorado and Kansas are farmland. MODIS retrievals of AOD shows high aerosol concentration in the Central Plains and Pacific Southwest regions (top right). Some fires were detected in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, no significant smoke was identified out of these fires (top left)
SPECIAL FEATURE: Global Patterns of Carbon Dioxide
Almost any discussion of global warming begins or ends with carbon dioxide. Because of its molecular structure,carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means it allows visible light from the Sun to pass through the atmosphere while absorbing and re emitting infrared energy, heating the Earth. Greenhouse gases act as insulation and are responsible for making Earth's climate comfortable--without them, our planet would have an average temperature of -18 Celsius (0 Fahrenheit). Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, people have been releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and clearing forests. By adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, people are raising the planet's temperature with wide-ranging impacts.
Carbon dioxide is neither the most potent, nor the most abundant greenhouse gas, but it is the one most responsible for altering global temperatures. This close connection between climate and carbon is a compelling reason to keep track of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. The first space-based instrument to independently measure atmospheric carbon dioxide day and night, and under both clear and cloudy conditions over the entire globe, is the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA's Aqua satellite.
The map below shows carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere, the part of the atmosphere where most weather occurs. The data was collected in May 2013, when carbon dioxide levels reached their highest point in at least 800,000 years. The highest concentrations, shown in yellow, are in the Northern Hemisphere. Concentrations are lower in the Southern Hemisphere. In May, the Northern Hemisphere growing season was just beginning, so plants were removing little carbon from the atmosphere (full article: Earth Observatory)