Aerosols are tiny particles, such as soot or dust, suspended in Earth's atmosphere. In addition to their impacts on air-quality, aerosols can block sunlight from reaching the Earth's surface. This image shows how much sunlight aerosols blocked from reaching the Earth's surface in 2006. Areas where aerosols let sunlight through are white, and areas where aerosols blocked sunlight from reaching the Earth are dark orange. Areas where data could not be collected appear in gray.
Image Courtesy of Reto Stockli, NASA's Earth Observatory