Check out Raw Prawn co-author Reena Ganga's new travel blog, Wanderplex, for vacation ideas and great travel tips and tricks

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Pollution and development, as seen from space

    Posted by Adam Crouch

Over at Mahalanobis, Michael Stastny has an image of air pollution around the world, and points out some interesting things. (full article here)

The map, based on 18 months' worth of satellite data, shows very high levels of NO2 [AC: not N2O] above major European and North American cities and across much of north-east China. South-east Asia and Africa also have raised concentrations of the gas due to their burning of vegetation.

Here's the map (full size image here):

But perhaps more surprising are the oceans. "Ship tracks are visible in some locations," says Steffen Beirle, one of the research team at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. "Look at the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean between the southern tip of India and Indonesia."


Though I wonder why there's not much pollution around the Panama Canal:

When I saw this image from the European Space Agency and the University of Heidelberg, it reminded me of an image by NASA, showing the world at night:

You would expect the two maps to match up, with the areas with the most lights having the most pollution. With that in mind, here are some areas where there's a striking mismatch.

1. India and China are two countries that are often compared with each other. They're the two most populous nations on earth, and both rapidly developing. The difference in the way the two countries are approaching development is a fascinating topic, and one that I intend to take up in a future post. For now though, notice that while both countries are roughly equivalent in terms of lights, their pollution levels are very different (you mean there are places that are more polluted than Delhi?!)

Tells you a bit about the results of their development, and the types of industries they've been attracting.

2. They don't call it The Rust Belt for nothin':

3. Germany, Europe's industrial core, seems to be doing much better than Northern Italy and Benelux

Update: A new study says, "a day walking in Milan is like smoking 15 cigarettes," in terms of its effect on your lungs.

4. I guess that's vegetation burning in Central Africa... and why is so much drifting out over the water? Maybe its from all those ships "operating" from Liberia.

A few other things:

Remember how North Korea used to be the industrialized one?

And finally, good old Australia:

(Just stay out of the sun)

<< Home

Return to the
  main page

   American marketer
      in Sydney (bio)

   Australian journalist
         in Sydney




Site Search