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International Space Station Imagery
Dust and smog in northeast China
high res (1.0 M) low res (62 K)
ISS012-E-21250 (2 March 2006) --- Dust and smog in northeast China are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 12 crewmember on the International Space Station. Much of the land surface is obscured in this oblique image of the North China Plain and parts of Inner Mongolia. In the center of the view a mass of gray smog—mainly industrial pollution and smoke from domestic burning—obscures Beijing and surrounding cities. Numerous plumes with their source points appear within the mass. Beijing suffers some of the worst air pollution in the world from these chronic sources, and the characteristic colors and textures of the smog can be easily seen through windows of the International Space Station. The coastline of Bo Hai Bay, 300 kilometers east of Beijing, is visible at left. The light brown material in Bo Hai Bay is sediment from the Yellow and other rivers. Separated from the smog mass by a band of puffy, white cumulus clouds is a light brown plume of dust. The line of white cloud has developed along the escarpment that separates the heavily populated North China Plain – location of the largest population agglomeration on Earth – and the sparsely populated semi-desert plains of Inner Mongolia. Observers saw a number of dust events in most Northern Hemisphere deserts in the spring of 2006, and the Gobi and the Takla Makan deserts of western China were no exception. Dust plumes originating in these deserts typically extend eastward hundreds of kilometers, regularly depositing dust on Beijing, the Korean peninsula and Japan. Some plumes even extend over the Pacific Ocean. In extreme cases, visible masses of Gobi-derived dust have reached North America.

Curator: JSC PAO Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 10/30/2012
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