Thursday, December 10, 2015

China's Latest 'Airpocalypse' Seen from Space

[Live Science] Severe air pollution is choking China with thick veils of smog, and yesterday (Dec. 7), Beijing issued a red alert — the highest possible — due to poor air quality in the Chinese capital city. Recent satellite images of the country show large hazy clouds covering portions of northeastern China that are so thick they can be seen from space.
The images, taken by NASA's Earth-watching Suomi NPP satellite on Nov. 30, show some of the most severe pollution that cities in eastern China, including Beijing, have seen this year.
Shortly after the satellite photos were taken, country officials issued a code orange air pollution alert, which is the third tier of the four-tiered alert system that indicates "heavy" pollution or an Air Quality Index (AQI) reading between 201 and 300. On Monday, however,  the country's authorities  upgraded the alert to  a "code red," the highest level of alarm. It's the first time China has ever issued a code red air pollution alert, which indicates more than three days of air pollution levels with an AQI greater than 300. Officials have advised millions of the country’s citizens to stay indoors, implemented restrictions on driving and put a ban on outdoor barbeque until the smog dissipates, according to news reports. Read More