Data courtesy of the NCAR and University of Toronto MOPITT Teams
Vegetation burning in the Southern Hemisphere peaks during the dry season months between July and September. Burning of vegetation biomass releases various particles and trace gases into the atmosphere, including
carbon monoxide (CO). The emissions from fires in South America
and South Equatorial Africa significantly contribute to the global CO
burden during this season, as is evident in the false-color images above. The pair of images compares the CO concentrations measured in the lower troposphere for
February (bottom) and September (top) 2004.
While the Northern Hemisphere clearly
dominates the CO budget in February when biomass burning in the Southern
Hemisphere is low, the fire season in the Southern Hemisphere becomes an
important component to the global CO budget in September.
The data have been taken with the Measurements of Pollution in the
Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument launched onboard NASA’s Terra
satellite in December 1999. The images show the averaged CO
concentrations in parts per billion (ppb) at 700 mbar (~3 km altitude)for February 17-27, 2004, and September 17-27,
2004, respectively. High CO levels are indicated in red, while blue
shades represent low CO concentrations. Missing data either due to
clouds or due to high surface altitude (e.g. over the Andes or the
Himalaya) are colored in gray.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.