Between the afternoon of November 2 and November 3, a layer of haze built up in east-central China near the coast of Bo-Hai (the body of water at right). The east coastal plain in this part of China is frequently plagued with poor air quality, due to increasing vehicle pollution in large cities like Beijing, coal-fired power plants, and home heating and cooking fires. The location and topography do not help the situation. The mountains to the west trap the haze over the plain, and the meteorological influences in the area often create what's called a "temperature inversion," in which the air near the surface is cooler than the air higher in the atmosphere. (Normally, air temperatures decrease with altitude.) Since cooler air has less tendency to rise, the haze can remained trapped near the surface until the weather changes.
These images were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on November 2 and 3, 2004. The high-resolution image is from November 3, and its spatial resolution is 500 square meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides both images in additional resolutions.
Incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels like coal and wood leads to a build-up of haze in eastern China, where mountains and weather patterns can trap it for days at a time. This Terra MODIS image is a comparison of a hazy day and a relatively clear day in February 2005.