A springtime dust storm spread from Mongolia through northern China on May 27, 2008. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. In this image, dust and clouds form a giant swirl where the borders of Mongolia, Russia, and China meet. Although clouds obscure much of the dust and the arid landscape below, isolated streaks of tan mix with the clouds over eastern Mongolia. Southwest of the clouds, dust plumes blow in a counter-clockwise direction, clear skies allowing a view of the area where the plumes originate. In the southeast, the dust forms a large amorphous mass of uniform tan.
According to a May 27 report from the Agence France-Presse news agency, dust from this storm pushed Beijing’s pollution levels to the highest level, prompting the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau to warn sensitive individuals to stay indoors.