Thick smog often obscures the sky over Beijing and nearby regions. Residents are frequently warned to spend as little time as possible outdoors, due to the air pollution.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of NASA

Scientists to Assess Beijing Olympics Air Pollution Control Efforts
News story originally written on August 7, 2008

During the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, scientists have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe what happens in the atmosphere a heavily populated part of the world cuts back on everyday industrial emissions. Chinese officials have cut back on industrial activity by as much as 30 percent and required that people don't drive their cars very much in order to make the air in Beijing cleaner for the athletes competing in the Olympics.

An unmanned aircraft that has special scientific equipment will go on a series of flights to measure smog and and how it affects conditions in the atmosphere. The flights will start at the South Korean island of Cheju, located about 1,165 kilometers (725 miles) southeast of Beijing. Cheju is in the path of pollution plumes that begin in various cities in China, including Beijing.

Dust, soot, and other pollution aerosols are a major contributor to global warming. Scientists are interested in learning what happens in the atmosphere when less soot is released during the Olympics.

Last modified August 12, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Air Pollution Sources

Air pollution comes from many sources. Some natural sources affect air quality. Volcanoes produce sulfur, chlorine, and ash. Wildfires make smoke and carbon monoxide. Cattle and other animals release methane...more

Air Pollution

Have you ever heard of air pollution? Air pollution is not new. 700 years ago, when people started burning large amounts of coal 700 years ago in London, England, they complained about the dust and soot...more

Aerosols: Tiny Particulates in the Air

When you look up at the sky, you are looking at more than just air. There are also billions of tiny bits of solid and liquid floating in the air. These tiny particles are called aerosols or particulates....more

Global Warming: Scientists Say Earth Is Heating Up

Earth’s climate is getting warmer. During the past 100 years Earth’s average temperature rose about 0.6° Celsius (1.0° F). Things that people are doing like burning fossil fuels, changing the way land...more

Pollution's Effects on Us

The air is shared by everyone and everything on Earth. Living things breathe it and depend upon on it for life. When pollution is added to it, we can’t stop breathing or escape from it. After all, air...more

Finding Answers in the Clouds

Scientists are sending tiny airplanes buzzing in the sky to find out how air pollution can impact weather, climate, and global warming. The tiny airplanes look like regular planes but they have only a...more

Triggers of Volcanic Eruptions in Oregon's Mount Hood Investigated

Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA