NASA Image of Air Pollution over Eastern China - Sean Gallagher - Photographer & Filmmaker | Beijing, China

NASA Image of Air Pollution over Eastern China

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in News | One Comment

NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team

If you were unfortunate enough to visit the east of China last week, you will have run into what was a very noticeable haze that descended on this part of the country. Residents and regular visitors knew all to well that this was the return of the dreaded vast swathes of air pollution that still hit this region of China. Levels were consistently over 300 on the AQI Index in Beijing last week, which according to the ‘AirNow‘ website… “”Hazardous” AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.”

The above image was released today by NASA’s MODIS Rapid Response Team and shows clearly a huge wave of pollution lingering in the east, amazingly stretching all the way from Beijing, through central China and down to the west of Shanghai. Incredible. According to NASA….

“Skies over eastern China remained hazy on October 18, 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day.

Over China’s coastal plain south of Beijing, haze forms a giant, nearly opaque arc that terminates over Bo Hai. Although agricultural fires probably play a role in the formation of the haze, it more likely results from urban and industrial pollution in this densely populated area.”

If you are concerned about the level of pollution during your visit to China, especially in Beijing, you may want to check out the air pollution monitor on Twitter which provides hourly updates in the capital.

For further reading, check out The Globe & Mail’s Mark MacKinnon and his recent report on what it’s like living with air pollution. Think China’s Air is Breathable? Think Again. 

1 Comment

  1. sigs
    October 26, 2011

    Everything above is true. Except that:
    1) Nothing has dramatically changed last week. Or last year, or last decade for that matter. The haze has been there since early 90’s.
    2) The Chinese aren’t dying like flies

    So, while I wouldn’t raise my child in this country, I’m not afraid to live here. Air pollution isn’t a Chinese invention and while it’s not nice (up to being fatally dangerous to special groups like infants and elderly) I’m not afraid to breathe this air. I hope of course that future won’t prove me wrong.


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