The heaviest haze stretched from west to east
across the southern face of the Himalaya Mountains, and another thick layer can
be seen east of the border with Pakistan.
Haze and thick streaks of smoke, some of
which can be seen to rise from active fires (marked in red), also extend over
the Arabian Sea. Compared to the heaviest swaths of smoke and haze, the skies
over the rest of India appear relatively clear.
However, a comparison with the
clean skies north of the Himalaya, where the topography can be seen in crisp,
clear colors, demonstrates just how heavily laden the air is throughout the
entire region south of the Himalaya.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color
image on December 25, 2011.
At that time, Tropical Cyclone Thane was just
forming in the Bay of Bengal, and clouds associated with this system can be
seen in the lower right corner of the image. Thane became the strongest
tropical cyclone of 2011 within the North Indian Ocean, reaching Very Severe
Tropical Cyclone status on December 28. It came ashore the next day, killing at
least 47 people and leaving a wide swath of destruction in southeast India.
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