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Smog over China

Smog over China

A thick plume of smog hung over the region of Beijing on September 1, 2005. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard the Terra satellite captured this image the same day. Clouds cover the region in the north, but in the south, smog appears as a heavy band of gray.

According to The Seattle Times, China builds a new power plant every week. This building boom has led to a market for equipment that scrubs sulfur from power plant emissions. Unfortunately, not every pollutant has been reduced. Nature has reported that nitrogen dioxide in China’s atmosphere has risen by 50 percent in the last decade, and the pollutant continues to accumulate at an increasing rate. Added to the country’s appetite for electricity is its appetite for cars; the number of cars in China doubled between 1995 and 2002.

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides daily images of the Beijing region.