Follow this link to skip to the main content
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology
JPL - Home Page JPL - Earth JPL - Solar System JPL - Stars and Galaxies JPL - Science and Technology
Bring the Universe to You: JPL Email News JPL RSS Feed JPL Podcast JPL Video
MISR - Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer
  Gallery  
 Home
 Mission
 Get Data
 Gallery
Latest MISR Imagery
A Collection of MISR Imagery
Suggest an Image
MISR Instrument
AirMISR Instrument
AIrMISR Flight Imagery
 News and Events
 Publications
 FAQs
 Ask a Question
 About Us
 Other Resources
 Internal
A Collection of MISR Imagery
Fingerprints in the Dust
Larger images available View high-res tiff

Fingerprints in the Dust
05/09/2001

These MISR nadir-camera images of eastern China compare
a somewhat hazy summer view from July 9, 2000 (left) with
a spectacularly dusty spring view from April 7, 2001 (middle).
The left-hand and middle images are from Terra orbits 2967 and 6928,
respectively, and extend from central Manchuria near the top to
portions of North and South Korea at the bottom. They are
approximately 380 kilometers in width.

Asia's desert areas are prone to soil erosion, as underground water tables are lowered by prolonged drought and by industrial and agricultural
water use. Heavy winds blowing eastward across the arid and sparsely
vegetated surfaces of Mongolia and western China pick up large quantities
of yellow dust. Airborne dust clouds from the April 2001 storm blew
across the Pacific Ocean and were carried as far as North America.
The minerals transported in this manner are believed to provide nutrients
for both oceanic and land ecosystems.

According to the Xinhua News Agency in China, nearly one million tons of Gobi Desert dust blow into Beijing each year. During a similar dust outbreak last year, the Associated Press reported that the visibility in Beijing had been reduced the point where buildings were barely visible across city streets, and airline schedules were significantly disrupted. The dust has also been implicated in adverse health effects such as respiratory discomfort and eye irritation.

The image on the right is a higher resolution MISR nadir-camera view of a portion of the April 7, 2001 dust cloud. It covers an area roughly 250 kilometers wide by 470 kilometers high. When viewed at full magnification, a number of atmospheric wave features, like the ridges and valleys of a fingerprint, are apparent. These are probably induced by surface topography, which can disturb the wind flow. A few small cumulus clouds are also visible, and are casting shadows on the thick lower dust layer.

Analyses of images such as these constitute one phase of MISR's participation in the Asian-Pacific Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment, an international campaign aimed at studying the offshore transport of airborne particles from the Asian continent. For more about this international endeavor, see http://saga.pmel.noaa.gov/aceasia/.

Credit: Image credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team.

<< RETURN TO GALLERY