China’s air pollution problem is so bad that on especially cold days in the country’s largest cities, the smog trapped below the dense, cold air collects to such a degree that NASA said this week it could be seen from space.
The morning of January 10 was one such day in Beijing, according to the U.S. space agency. On that particular day, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers were reading “off the scale” at the U.S. embassy, NASA explained.
Chinese air pollution seen from space. Photo: Courtesy of NASA.
That’s because the pollution coming from the city was being trapped under a blanket of cold air, which was similarly trapped under a layer of warm air, creating a bubble of sorts that let the smog build and build.
Photos taken by orbiting satellites showed a massive smog cloud covering a significant portion of the country on January 10, but photos taken on the 11th showed almost no trace of the pollution storm.
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