Against the arcing backdrop of the Himalaya Mountains (top of image), rivers of grayish haze follow the courses of the Ganges River and its tributaries(left) and the Brahmaputra River (right) on 1 February 2006. The plumes appear to combine like their watery counterparts and flow out together over the Bay of Bengal past the Mouths of the Ganges, the multi-pronged delta of the river along the Bangladeshcoast. This image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Terrasatellite.
Scientists studying the cloud of haze that frequently lingers over parts of Asia from Pakistan to China and even the Indian and Pacific Oceans have called the pollution the Asian Brown Cloud. The mix of aerosols (tiny particles suspended in the air) includes smoke from agricultural and home heating and cooking fires, vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions. In addition to the respiratory problems the persistent haze can cause, it also appears to hinder crops by blocking sunlight and could be altering regional weather.