EARTH Southeast Asia -- 02 Apr 2007 -- Vehicles and power plants are not the only sources of air pollution and greenhouses gases: fires contribute, too.
EARTH Southeast Asia -- 02 Apr 2007 -- Vehicles and power plants are not the only sources of air pollution and greenhouses gases: fires contribute, too. In the Northern Hemisphere spring, which is the end of dry season across much of Southeast Asia, thousands of fires burn each year as people clear cropland and pasture in anticipation of the upcoming wet (growing season). Intentional fires also escape peoples control and burn into adjacent forest. The smoke from these fires crosses the Pacific Ocean, affecting climate far away. MODIS detected hundreds, possibly thousands of fires (marked in red), burning in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and China. Thick smoke hides nearly all of Laos, where the highest concentration of fires is located. In southern China and northern Vietnam, the smoke has sunk into the valleys that crisscross the mountainous terrain- only the highest ridgelines, which appear dark green, emerge from the blanket of smoke. The smoke sails above a bank of clouds at upper right as a dingy, yellowish haze. Fires have been burning in the region for more than month, as shown by the high carbon monoxide levels observed by NASAs MOPITT sensor during March 2007. In addition to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, fires produce tiny particles of incompletely burned, or charred, carbon. According to research published in mid-March 2007 in the Journal of Geophysical Research, significant amounts of this black carbon travel across the Pacific Ocean to North America at altitudes above 2 kilometers. In spring 2004, between 25-35 gigatons (roughly 55 to 77 million pounds) of black carbon crossed the Pacific and entered skies over western North America between March 26 and April 25- nearly 75 percent of it came from Asia. (Smoke and other pollution have no respect for borders- for example, scientists have also documented smoke pollution from fires in Alaska and Canada crossing the Atlantic and entering skies over Europe.)
Image ID: OS1875_P0402
Author: ©Lightroom Photos/ NASA/Topfoto
©Lightroom Photos/ NASA/Topfoto
Image size: 24.6 Mpixels (70.5 MB uncompressed) - 4400x5600 pixels (14.6x18.6 in / 37.3x47.4 cm at 300 ppi)
Image keywords: aerial photo, aerial photography, aerial view, air, Asia, atmosphere, birds eye, burning, carbon, clean, earth, east, ecology, environment, environmental, Fires, geography, global, health, OS1875, photo, photograph, pollution, quality, RMP1, satellite, satellites, science, scientific, smog, smoke, south, straight down, top down, vertical, vertical view, warming