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Images, Page 2

These images, featured in the report Earth Observations from Space: The First 50 Years of Scientific Achievements, illustrate the many scientific advancements enabled by satellite observations.

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Average distribution of atmospheric aerosol amounts

FIGURE 4.11: These 19 global panels show the seasonal average distribution of atmospheric aerosol amounts across Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The measurements capture airborne particles in the entire atmospheric column, for subvisible sizes ranging from tiny smoke particles to "medium" dust (about 0.5 to 2.5 microns). Such particles are produced by forest fires, deserts, volcanoes, breaking ocean waves, and urban and industrial pollution sources. SOURCE: NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Langley Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradimeter Team.

Global net radiation, 1985-1986

FIGURE 4.3: The annual mean net radiation balance from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), 1985-1986. Positive values indicate net energy entering the Earth. In order to balance the energy budget, the atmosphere and ocean must transport heat from regions where the net input is positive to regions where it is negative. SOURCE: Graphic by D. Hartmann and M. Michelsen, University of Washington.

Longwave cloud forcing, 1985-1985

FIGURE 4.4: Longwave cloud forcing, the amount by which clouds reduce the escaping thermal emission from Earth, 1985-1986. Positive values indicate that clouds are reducing the thermal energy emission to space, a positive effect on the energy budget. Note the large positive forcing due to the deep convective clouds trapping long-wave emission in the tropical West Pacific and Indian Ocean region and over the equatorial continents. SOURCE: Graphic by D. Hartmann and M. Michelsen, University of Washington.

Radiative cloud forcing, inferred stratus cloud amount maps

FIGURE 4.5: The top panel shows net cloud radiative forcing, annually averaged as observed by the ERBE. Negative values (red colors) indicate that clouds reduced the energy balance of Earth by reflecting more solar radiation than the amount by which they reduced the escaping infrared radiation. The bottom panel shows the fractional area coverage by low clouds as measured by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP). Note the close correspondence between low stratocumulus clouds over the ocean and strongly negative cloud radiative forcing. SOURCE: Graphic by D. Hartmann and M. Michelsen, University of Washington.

Haze following rivers in Asia

FIGURE 4.7: Against the arcing backdrop of the Himalayan Mountains (top of image), rivers of grayish haze follow the courses of the Ganges River and its tributaries (left) and the Brahmaputra River (right) on February 1, 2006. The plumes appear to combine like their watery counterparts and flow out together over the Bay of Bengal past the mouths of the Ganges, the multipronged delta of the river along the Bangladesh coast. This image was captured by MODIS on NASA's Terra satellite. Scientists studying the cloud of haze that frequently lingers over parts of Asia from Pakistan to China and even the Indian and Pacific oceans have called the pollution the "Brown Cloud." The mix of aerosols (tiny particles suspended in air) includes smoke from agricultural and home heating and cooking fires, vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions. In addition to causing respiratory problems, the persistent haze appears to hinder crops by blocking sunlight and could be altering regional weather. SOURCE: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team. http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=20461.

Atlantic Ocean

FIGURE 4.8: The top panel shows a true color image from the MODIS instrument taken over the Atlantic Ocean on January 27, 2003. Bright linear features are apparent in the low clouds in much of the scene. MODIS can independently measure the optical depth (lower left panel), which is enhanced in the bright regions, and the effective particle radius (lower right panel). The smaller particle radius in the ship tracks is what would be expected from the introduction of many more cloud condensation nuclei from the ship exhaust. Smaller particles are more effective in reflecting solar radiation. This strongly suggests that the cloud enhancements are caused by human-produced aerosols. SOURCE: Images courtesy of Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, and Mark Gray, MODIS Atmosphere Science Team, both at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=11271.

Schematic of biogeochemical cycling

FIGURE 5.1: Schematic of biogeochemical cycling with human contributions included, illustrating the major gas-phase constituents in the lower atmosphere that are measured from space (shaded in gray). NO_2 and NO are encircled to represent equilibrium; their sum is referred to as NO_x. Note: BrO = bromine monoxide, CH_4 = methane, CO = carbon monoxide, h = Planck's constant, H_2_O = water, HCHO = formaldehyde, HO_2 = hydroperoxyl, NO = nitric oxide, NO_2 = nitrogen dioxide, O(^1D) = electronically excited oxygen atoms, O_2 = molecular oxygen, O_3 = ozone, OH = hydroxide, RH = hydrocarbon species, SO_2 = sulfur dioxide, v = photon frequency. SOURCE: Drawing by A. Thompson and K. Dougherty, Pennsylvania State University.

Water profile measurements

FIGURE 5.2: Time series of zonal mean water vapor profile measurements by the Microwave Limb Sounder on the Aura satellite. The colors represent a percentage change relative to the 15&176; S-15&176; N mean at each pressure level. The upward progression with time above the 140-hPa level (~ 14 km altitude) shows the vertical motion consistent with theoretical predictions. SOURCE: Figure courtesy of Jonathan Jiang, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Monthly mean total ozone column, southern hemisphere

FIGURE 5.4: October monthly mean total ozone column over the southern hemisphere for eight selected years between 1970 and 2005. These show large interannual variations, with the hole generally becoming larger and deeper until recent years. SOURCE: Data provided by R. McPeters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; modified by J. Gille, National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Tracking pollution

FIGURE 5.8: Tracking pollution using data from NASA's TOMS satellite instrument. In 1997 smoke from Indonesian fires remained stagnant over Southeast Asia while smog (tropospheric, low-level ozone) spread more rapidly across the Indian Ocean toward India. This situation was exacerbated by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which had already increased the thickness of smog over the region. At the same time, additional smog from African fires streamed over the Indian Ocean and combined with the smog from Indonesia in mid-October (lower right), creating an aerial canopy of pollutants. SOURCE: NASA

Hurricane Katrina cross-section

FIGURE 6.1: A cross-sectional view of Hurricane Katrina through the eye of the storm, as observed from TRMM. This image shows the horizontal distribution of rain intensity on August 28, 2005, when Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 knots (115 mph). Rain rates in the central portion of the swath are from the TRMM precipitation radar, and the rain rates in the outer swath are from the TRMM microwave imager. The rain rates are overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM visible infrared scanner. Two isolated hot towers (in red) are visible: one in an outer rain band and the other in the northeastern part of the eyewall. The height of the eyewall tower is 16 km. Towers of this height near the core are often an indication of intensification as was true with Katrina, which became a Category 4 storm soon after this image was taken. SOURCE: NASA (2005)

Snow and cloud cover over the Sierra Nevada

FIGURE 6.2: MODIS image (left) and interpreted snow (white) and cloud (pink) cover over the Sierra Nevada, January 5, 2003. SOURCE: http://modis-snowice. gsfc.nasa.gov/images.html.