Smog over Beijing, China

Smog over Beijing, China
  • Credit:

    NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Toronto MOPITT Teams.

China has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. While economic growth increases income and wealth, the associated increase in environmental pollution from the burning of fossil fuel and biofuel is a rising concern.

One of the gases emitted during incomplete combustion processes is carbon monoxide (CO). CO has a lifetime on the order of weeks and is therefore a well-suited tracer for pollution. This image shows the total CO column density (in molecules per square centimeter) over China averaged for October 27-to November 7, 2005. High CO levels (indicated in red) are detected over large regions in China.

The data were collected by the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument on board the EOS Terra satellite, which has been retrieving CO concentrations in the troposphere since the beginning of 2000. Missing data due to clouds are color-coded in gray.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    November 7, 2005
  • Visualization Date:

    November 9, 2005
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MOPITT
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration