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NASA is mapping duststorms from space

In the Mediterranean, it’s called “Sirocco,” in the Canary Islands, “La Calima,” “Harmattan” in West Africa, and “Haboob” in Sudan. But these names all describe the same thing: dust storms.

NASA is mapping dust storms from space with a new high-tech device that can measure the extent that dust is altering Earth's climate.

Launched in July 2022, Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) is attached to the International Space Station and orbits the Earth 16 times a day, mapping the mineral composition of the planet’s surface by gathering data on spectra, the different light wavelengths that are emitted by different colors.

Most of the existing data comes from agricultural land, where detailed soil information was valuable for farming and commercial purposes. The wealth of information provided by EMIT, which includes data from the world’s most arid regions, will help scientists learn much more about dust and its impact on climate, an issue overlooked until now. And ecosystems actually rely on dust aerosols.

But if dust storms become more frequent and intense, they could accelerate global warming by altering the distribution of Earth’s minerals, reducing rainfall and further absorbing solar radiation. This would mean land degradation and droughts. Click here for the "Global Assessment of Sand and Dust Storms" from UNEP .

Click at the image below to access NASA's portal and here for a CNN article . You will also see that EMIT has spotted 50 “super-methane emitters” across the world , mostly coming from fossil fuel, waste and agricultural facilities, in locations including the US, Iran and Turkmenistan. And who knows if natural hydrogen emissions are also being mapped from the sky. Amazing the "EMIT L2b Algorithm: Mineral Detection and Related Products at the Pixel Scale" .

And you might be also interested to read again about Earth's albedo .


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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