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Haze along the Himalaya

Haze along the Himalaya

Haze continued to hug the southern side of the Himalaya in mid-December 2006. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture on December 11. In this image, the dingy gray haze partially obscures the view of northern India. Over the Himalaya, opaque white clouds fill the sky.

Atmospheric pressure combined with geology often trap haze at the base of the Himalaya Mountains. India’s rapid industrialization has clearly played a role in producing so much haze. According to a a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in December 2006, the pollution dims incoming sunlight and reduces rainfall, both of which reduce India’s rice harvest.

You can also download a 250-meter-resolution KMZ file of the haze along the front of the Himalayan range for use with Google Earth.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.