This Massive Blanket of Haze Cancelled Almost 50 Flights in China [Picture]
A flight cancelled due to "haze" seems a more likely reality for the characters of Half Baked than those of us living in this reality. However, this was an actuality for travellers in China this past January.
On January 10th, Beijing Airport cancelled 43 flights and delayed 80 more due to a heavy haze blanketing the North China Plain. According to reports, visibility dropped to 200 meters.
The major catalyst to the development of the haze is particle pollution caused fine particle such as dust or soot from burning coal and other fuel. On January 10th, the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau reported particles smaller than 10 micrometers (PM 10) had reached a density of 560 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Conversely, in the United States, if PM 10 reach a level higher than 150 per cubic meter, they have exceeded air quality standards.
In the winter months, haze is worse as cold air can get trapped beneath a more buoyant layer of warm air for several days. This prevents pollution from escaping into the higher atmosphere. In a country like China, where emissions are growing at an exponential rate, this is particularly troublesome -- in 2011, China emitted 9.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide, 29% of the world's emissions.
NASA satellites captured the massive blanket of haze which choked China on January 10th.
Note: The top photo is an image of the North China Plain on January 10th; the bottom photo is an image of the same region on January 11th.
Image credit: IK's World Trip via Flickr
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