Source: Thomas Pagano, NASA-JPL/Caltech
Published: August 9, 2021

Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas that is created during incomplete combustion. The AIRS instrument sees carbon monoxide in the mid troposphere generated from large scale burning on the Earth surface that is lifted upward. AIRS only sees very large fires big enough to produce enough Carbon Monoxide to make it into the mid troposphere and at the scale and resolution of 100’s of km. Carbon monoxide is a short-lived gas and can be seen with good contrast in the AIRS imagery. In this mosaic animation, the AIRS Carbon Monoxide Volume Mixing Ratio (VMR) (number of molecules of ozone per molecule of air) is shown for concentrations between 1 x 10-8 VMR (blue), and 3 x 10-7 VMR (red). This image shows a persistent source of CO in the Central African regions during late summer with reduced persistence in the South American regions in the later years. AIRS CO data are used for understanding atmospheric transport, chemistry and research to improve fire prediction and alerts.