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10 vivid maps that show Earth in a new light

By: Bryan Nelson on Dec. 5, 2014, 8:45 a.m.
Water vapor

Photo: NASA

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Water vapor

Measuring water vapor in the atmosphere is important for studying Earth's water cycle, but it's also a key indicator of climate change. Water vapor traps heat near the surface, keeping our planet warm. Assembled by the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer’s precipitable water vapor product, this map shows vapor concentration in August 2014. Darker areas show more water vapor. The monsoon season in Southeast Asia is clearly visible and intense.