AIRS Mean Carbon Monoxide at 500 Millibar, September 22-29, 2002



Given carbon monoxide's (CO) direct production from combustion and role as an ozone and smog precursor, detailed global observations of CO are crucial to assessing atmospheric health. Using the 1600 km cross-track swath and cloud-clearing retrieval capabilities of AIRS, daily global CO maps can be produced which cover approximately 80% of the planet. Analysis of these data from the first month of AIRS operation (September 2002) reveals daily evolution of large-scale, long-range transport of biomass burning and industrial pollution with unprecedented horizontal resolution and coverage. The depicted day, 29 September 2002, shows large biomass burning (slash-and-burn agriculture) source regions over central South America, Africa, and Indonesia. Time-sequence imaging of global images over a period of a week shows significant transport to the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. At this time of year, North America and European industrial sources are at a minimum and a mix of industrial and biomass burning sources contribute in India, China, and Russia. Preliminary validation indicates AIRS CO retrievals are approaching the 15% accuracy target set by pre-launch simulations. With these global CO features heretofore glimpsed only in limited scope, AIRS observations will enable refinement of models simulating global climate change and provide critical monitoring of variations in greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

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