The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pollution haze cause China to disappear in NASA satellite photos

In North America we love to bitch and complain about the smog in Los Angeles, but compared to China it's almost walk in the country. These two NASA images, taken one day apart, show what the area around Beijing looks like when the pollution particle cloud descends, virtually obscuring the region from satellite views.  In fact the pollution level was so bad on January 10 this year, that the Beijing airport was forced to cancel 43 flights and delay 80 more in the morning hours, when visibility dropped to 200 meters. 
                  January 10, 2012                                                                           January 11, 2012                   Credit: NASA
 From NASA: 
One major constituent of haze is particle pollution, such as dust, liquid drops, and soot from burning fuel or coal. Particles smaller than 10 micrometers (called PM 10) are small enough to enter the lungs, where they can cause respiratory problems. The density of PM10 reached 560 micrograms per cubic meter of air on January 10, said the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau. By contrast, U.S. cities exceed air quality standards when PM10 concentrations reach 150 micrograms per cubic meter. 
But most of the pollution that makes up haze isn’t PM10; it’s finer particles, smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5). These particles can embed themselves deep in the lungs and occasionally enter the blood stream. The fine particles are highly reflective, sending sunlight back into space.
The Chinese government does not currently measure PM2.5, but the U.S. Embassy in Beijing reports their measurements hourly in a Twitter feed. On the morning of January 10, PM2.5 measurements were off the scale, though by afternoon they had dropped to moderate levels. The Beijing Environmental Bureau will start releasing PM2.5 measurements sometime before January 23, the Chinese New Year.
Read more from NASA here.

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