Editor's Note: This is an archive image from 2006.
This image featuring a southeast-looking view of the Long Island Sound and New Jersey coast, with the lower Hudson River and New York Bay in the area of brightest sunglint was photographed by an Expedition 14 crewmember on the International Space Station. On the far right a gray haze can be seen streaming out to sea offshore of New Jersey, where it becomes harder to see. In fact haze covers most of the visible area offshore, partly obscuring the sea surface. By contrast, clouds look quite different from haze according to scientists. Clouds usually have sharp margins and are pure white, as clouds at the bottom show. Industrial haze is grayer and more diffuse, and is typical of the air over the Northeast. Flow lines show that winds are transporting the haze in clockwise fashion--i.e. bending south--which in turn signifies that a high pressure system was operating on that day, centered roughly over the coast. High pressure systems are notorious for promoting smog events because they bring clear skies, and sunlight promotes smog formation. Highs also concentrate polluted surface layers near the ground.
Image/caption credit: NASA
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