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The Bulletin

China's oppressive smog, from space

Posting in Cities

Ever wonder what business-crippling, city-paralyzing smog looks like from space? We're glad you're just as curious as we are.

Yes, the smog is that big gray blob.

The satellite image comes from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which had this to say about the image:

Heavy smog has shrouded much of eastern China, and air quality levels have been dropped to extremely dangerous levels. The heavy smog is caused by industrial pollution, coal and agricultural burning, and has been trapped by the mountains to the west and wind patterns. The thick haze of smog is clearly visible as the murky grey color in this true color VIIRS image from the Suomi NPP satellite.

Earlier this week, dangerous levels of smog practically shut down Harbin, a major city in China's northeast region as cities in the northern part of the country began turning on heating systems powered by coal. Research this year showed that the smog caused mainly by the burning of coal is causing drastic reduction in life span for people living in the region.

And while China is spending billions of dollars to fight air pollution, some of the measures that are being proposed will lead to a whole host of different environmental problems.

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— By on October 25, 2013, 5:50 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure