Schools and construction sites were closed as a result of the smog, which forced city officials to call a red alert for the first time in Beijing’s history.
Air Quality Index (AQI) levels reached 365 on Tuesday in the city, well above the hazardous pollution threshold of 300. Anything above a 200 level is noticeable to healthy people, and 300 or above will cause health problems for all groups.
Light winds, cold temperatures and high humidity levels lead to increased pollution due to the dense, sinking nature of cold air and humidity giving water molecules particulates for the pollution to latch onto, and the light winds act to trap in the pollution.
Beijing has long had a history of pollution due to China’s rapid industrialization coupled with mountains north and west of the city.
Slightly warmer temperatures in Beijing by the end of the week should gradually reduce the worst of the pollution by the end of the week.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi
(File photo: 大杨)