Topic 4b - Part 2: Tracking the transport and effects of aerosols with satellite data and models

As you saw in 4b part 1, aerosols can be emitted from natural sources, these include desert dust, volcanic ash and sea salt, or they can be emitted from anthropogenic sources, which include biomass burning, vehicle emissions, and industrial processes.

Aerosols can range in size from as small as 10 nanometres and up to 100 micrometres. You usually cannot see aerosols easily in the atmosphere, however when in high concentrations, they are easier to spot.

Featured Educators

  • Dr Rosemary Munro

  • Dr Melanie Ades

Don’t forget you can download the video, transcript and take any quizzes available with the links on the right.

Interactive Apps

3D Data viewer - Aerosols

Explore global aerosols data in 3D with this interactive globe. Toggle the data sets on and off using the check box in the workbench located on the left side of the screen. You can also use the tools on the right side of your screen such as “toggle splitter” to view and compare different data layers at the same time. You can also change the base map and map view by clicking on the map icon on the top right of the screen.


Aerosol Optical Depth - Europe

This is an image from MODIS showing aerosol optical depth over Europe on 16th October 2017. The areas in red have high aerosol optical depths.

Red sun over the University of Reading campus

This photo was taken on the 16th October 2017 in Reading, UK and it shows the sky looking like a orange haze with a red sun, which was caused by Saharan dust and smoke from Spanish and Portuguese wildfires.