China's Air Pollution Is So Awful You Can See It From Space

NASA captures a 750-mile trail of haze on camera.
More

Just in case you'd gotten used to those now-ubiquitous photos of smog-choked Chinese cities, NASA has managed to up the ante with the image up above: yes, that's China's air pollution, as seen from orbit. 

The image was snapped by the space agency's Terra satellite on January 7th during the country's most recent spate of severe pollution. The bright white spots are clouds and fog. The wispy gray haze reaching from Beijing to Shanghai is polluted air. That's about 750 miles of smog which, as NASA notes, is about the distance from Boston to Raleigh, North Carolina. 

"On the day this natural-color image was acquired by Terra, ground-based sensors at U.S. embassies in Beijing and Shanghai reported PM2.5 measurements as high as 480 and 355 micrograms per cubic meter of air respectively," NASA writes. "The World Health Organization considers PM2.5 levels to be safe when they are below 25."

(h/t BloombergBusinessweek)

Jump to comments

Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in China

Just In