Currently, China is experiencing one of the worst periods of air quality in recent history. Residents of Beijing and many other cities in China were warned to stay inside. The Chinese government ordered factories to scale back emissions, while hospitals saw spikes of more than 20 to 30 percent in patients complaining of respiratory issues, according to news reports.
By late November 2011, floods were receding around Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok, but only slowly. These images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite compare conditions around the city on November 28, 2011 (top), and November 1, 2011 (bottom).
Current regional and global scale hydrological models, such as the Coupled Routing and Excess STorage (CREST) model, do not take into account the release and storage of water by man-made dams. These models make gross assumptions about dam operation, impairing their accuracy and utility. In many less economically developed areas of the world, it is not possible to acquire information on the timing and extent of water release in dammed regions.
NASA's latest Earth-observing satellite, the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP), is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Oct. 28 to extend key environmental data records established by an earlier generation of NASA satellites. To mark the launch, they are looking back at one of the scientific legacies NPP will build upon: the global fire data record.
In the days and weeks before the monsoon, heat builds over India. Hot air rises over the baked earth and westerly winds rush in to fill the void, bringing dust-laden air from the deserts of southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. Through April, May, and June, as monsoon conditions build, the air over the Ganges River plain grows thick with dust, smoke, and haze. Air quality over India is at its worst at this time of year.
Heavy rains pushed the Mekong River in Cambodia over its banks during the weekend, flooding 37 villages and damaging over 5,000 homes. Schools also were closed, and rice and cassava crops have been badly affected.
Taking a global view, public health issues and the environment are intimately linked. As an example, research has demonstrated that cholera epidemics occur seasonally in Bangladesh, with peak outbreaks happening twice a year. This bimodal outbreak pattern closely follows the times when large monsoon events are frequent (spring and fall).