Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: June 14, 2012 – Fires and smoke in eastern China

By SpaceRef Editor
June 14, 2012
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A broad band of smoke and haze continued to hang over eastern China in early June,2012 hovering above dozens of smoldering fires and obscuring large swaths of land from view. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image at 5:25 UTC (1:25 p.m. China Standard Time) on June 12, 2012. Red hotspots, many with gray smoke plumes pouring from them, mark actively burning fires. Most of the fires lie at the eastern edge of the North China Plain, one of China’s most important agricultural regions. On June 1, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported that the major winter wheat producing provinces of Henan, Hebei, Anhui, Shandong and Jiangsu will begin wheat harvest in June. These are the same provinces where the majority of the fires are actively burning. Given the time of year and the distribution of the fires in areas of active wheat harvest, it is likely that most of these fires are agricultural in origin, and deliberately set to burn stubble from wheat fields after harvest. Smoke from these fires contributes heavily to the gray blanket over the region, but industrial pollution and other human activities may also add to the smoky pall.

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SpaceRef staff editor.