Dust covered northern China earlier this week during some
of the worst dust storms to hit the region in a decade. The
dust obscuring China’s Inner Mongolian and Shanxi Provinces on
March 24 is compared with a relatively clear day (October 31,
2001) in these images from the Multi-angle Imaging
SpectroRadiometer’s vertical-viewing (nadir) camera aboard
NASA’s Terra Earth Observing Spacecraft. Each image
represents an area of about 380 by 630 kilometers (236 by 391

The images are available at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/earth/asia .

In the image from late March, shown on the right, wave
patterns in the yellowish cloud liken the storm to an airborne
ocean of dust. The veil of particulates obscures features on
the surface north of the Yellow River (visible in the lower
left). The area shown lies near the edge of the Gobi desert,
a few hundred kilometers, or miles, west of Beijing. Dust
originates from the desert and travels east across northern
China toward the Pacific Ocean. For especially severe storms,
fine particles can travel as far as North America.

The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, built and
managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.,
is one of five Earth-observing experiments aboard the Terra
satellite, launched in December wd. The instrument acquires
images of Earth at nine angles simultaneously, using nine
separate cameras pointed forward, downward and backward along
its flight path. The change in reflection at different view
angles affords the means to distinguish different types of
atmospheric particles, cloud forms and land surface covers.
More information is available at:

http://www-misr.jpl.nasa.gov .

NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise is a long-term research
and technology program designed to examine Earth’s land,
oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as a total integrated system.