Image of the Day: Smog over China

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

By 2017, China is planning to close down all of its coal-burning power plants to try to mitigate the slight smog problem that it's got going on. So that's good. But in the meantime, you know things are bad when you can't even see the country from orbit because of the pollution. How bad was it when this picture was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite back on December 23? NASA is happy to explain:

The concentration of PM2.5, which are fine air particulates, were reported at 421 micrograms per cubic meter at 2 p.m. near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, while levels were 795 in Xi’an and 740 in Zhengzhou. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 24-hour exposure to PM2.5 concentrations no higher than 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

Yeah, that's only 30 times worse for you than it should be. No big deal.

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