Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

China enveloped in smog, as seen from space. Again.


In what is unfortunately becoming a running series on Plugged In, here is another satellite image of Chinese air pollution from space:

Smog shows up as murky gray in this true color satellite image. Credit: NASA/NOAA

The Suomi NPP satellite captured this image on October 22, 2013. The heavy smog is caused by industrial pollution, coal and agricultural burning, and has been trapped by the mountains to the west and wind patterns.

This image comes after the news that smog was so bad that air traffic in Harbin, China, a city of 11 million people (not shown), was shut down as particulate matter exceeded the index for measuring air quality. Poor air quality is not unique to eastern China. In January 2013 air pollution reached alarming levels in Beijing (see "Beijing's air pollution as seen from space").

Perhaps smog will replace the Great Wall of China as the largest man-made creation seen from space.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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