Thick gray haze hangs over the eastern coastal plain of China on November 19, 2004. The particle pollution—likely a mixture of emissions from coal-fired power plants, home heating and cooking fires, and vehicles—fills the bowl of land surrounded by rugged mountains around the western perimeters and the seas to the east. The haze is banked against the Taihang Shan (Shan means “Mountains”), which run southwest from Beijing for several hundreds kilometers. The Huang He (Yellow River) is almost completely hidden by smoke, but its outlet into Bo Hai is located near image center, and the sediment that the river carries into the sea creates a tan border along the coastline.
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.