Year’s worst sandstorms hit several areas of northern China

Beijing, Mar 22 (EFE).- China’s Meteorological Center renewed a yellow alert Wednesday for what many called the year’s worst sandstorms in various areas of north and northeast China.

Floating sand and dust is expected to affect some areas in the regions of Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The storm also affected Mongolia, where one person has died from strong blizzards and sandstorms and two others are missing, according to the agency.

In Beijing, throughout Wednesday a concentration of PM10 particles in the air (for example, dust or ashes) exceeding 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter was reached in the city center, while that of PM2.5 particles (the most dangerous due to their small diameter) had its maximum of 495 in the morning, both levels being considered high risk.

This caused a phenomenon called “blue sun,” normally visible from Mars, but seen also in the Chinese capital and shared on social media with images showing the sun with a bluish tone.

Experts quoted by different local media said this occurs due of Mie scattering (the change in diameter of atmosphere particles equal to the wavelength of radiation), resulting in less red light being seen from the ground, and the overall color changing to blue.

The agency advised the population to take precautions against floating sand and dust, to close doors and windows in time, wear face masks and for drivers to prepare for reduced visibility.

China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system for sandstorms, with red representing the most severe scenario, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

In March 2021, the Chinese capital suffered its worst sandstorm in a decade, a phenomenon that has increased in recent years and that some experts attribute to global warming. EFE


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