Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: April 16, 2012 – Dust storm in northeast China

By SpaceRef Editor
April 16, 2012
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On April 8, 2012 gale-force winds blew across northeastern China, kicking up a significant dust storm that stretched hundreds of kilometers and spread sand plumes that blew as far as the Sea of Japan. This true-color image was captured on April 8, 2012 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite as it passed over the region at 4:45 UTC (12:45 p.m. China Standard Time). According to China Central TV, on April 8 the city of Tongliao in the east of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region encountered a gale and sandstorm, which came as the second such extreme weather event since the start of spring. Although the sandstorm did not affect flights, pedestrians covered their faces or wore masks as they endured the dust. In addition, it was reported that the spring’s first sandstorm also hit Harbin, the capital city of northeastern Heilongjiang Province on that same day, decreasing visibility to about two kilometers (about 6,500 feet) in the city. The dust rises from the semi-arid and arid lands of Inner Mongolia and northeastern China, and spring dust storms are common. Inner Mongolia is home to the Hunshandak Sandland, a semi-arid Satoyama-like landscape with sparse elm forest, low forest, hills and some wetland. It is reportedly home to over 800 plant species, over 400 vertebrate species, nearly 175 bird species and over 500 insect species, but has been increasingly suffering from desertification, allowing dust to rise when high winds blow.

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SpaceRef staff editor.