NASA scientists say a rise in black soot concentrations on the Tibetan Plateau has caused increases in temperature and has accelerated glacial melting since the 1990s. This September 2009 NASA image — based on weather and air chemistry models that used satellite and ground observations of soot and other air pollution — depicts levels of air pollution as measured by how much incoming sunlight is absorbed by soot particles. Areas where the air was thick with soot are white, while lower soot concentrations are purple. The highest levels of soot can be seen on the right, over China’s coastal plain, and over much of India. India’s black carbon pollution often circulates at high concentrations against the base of the Himalaya Mountains, spilling over onto the Tibetan Plateau and depositing the soot on glaciers.

Image 1 | Image 2 | Image 3 | Image 4 | Image 5 | Image 6 | Image 7 | Image 8 | Image 9 | Image 10 | Image 11 | Image 12

Click here to return to Yale Environment 360

Close this window

©2009 Yale University