Image courtesy the NCAR and University of Toronto MOPITT Teams
Measurements of carbon monoxide (CO) from the Measurements of Pollution in The Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument on NASA’s Terra
satellite show the pollutants from wildfires in southern Mexico being carried towards Florida. This image shows the mixing ratio of CO at
about 3 km (700 km) above the surface for March 18-22, 2003. An image from SeaWIFS shows the smoke from the fires in the same region. There were numerous
fires burning during this period on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Carbon monoxide is a good tracer of pollution since it is produced as a by-product of the combustion associated with wildfires and agricultural fires. The reds in this image show the highest levels of CO and blues show the lowest levels. The gray areas show where no data were collected, either due to persistent cloud cover or gaps between viewing swaths.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.