Last update: September 15th, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Haze and clouds hovered over northern India just south of the Himalaya in early January 2009. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on January 7, 2009. A band of haze hugs the southern face of the Himalaya, from northern India through Bangladesh. Isolated fires appear as red hotspots, and although they may contribute to the haze, they cannot account for all of it.
In November 2008, the United Nations Environment Programme reported myriad effects from large palls of pollution, called atmospheric “brown clouds.” Consequences in Asia included darkening skies over major cities and croplands, faster-melting glaciers in the Himalaya thanks to soot deposition, and more intense weather events. Despite their troublesome consequences in Asia, however, the clouds likely counterbalance some warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions by reflecting sunlight away from the planet.
Credit: NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.