I say this because for the last couple of days Beijing has become the victim of an enveloping haze. City officials are apparently completely unaware, as the weather forecast (according to the official report printed and posted in the elevator of my building. How more official do you want?) indicates clear skies. It is not clear. Au contraire, the city is slowly disappearing. The worst part is, no one seems to know why.
Sunday morning I was unable to see any kind of appreciable ‘skyline’. By the evening I couldn’t see more than a couple of blocks. Since this morning, I have been unable to see the buildings directly behind the first line of high-rise apartments on the opposite side of my street. For the last two days you could have seen the sun clearly, but now there’s only an orange disk in the sky – like a floating egg yolk.
If the city weather committee are saying it’s ‘clear’, which, see for yourself from the photos it’s not, what is going on? Smog? I am dubious. No doubt Beijing has its ample share of pollution and micro-particulates clogging our lungs and dusting every available surface. But if the smog were this thick, everything would have a yellowish tint. No. It doesn’t look grimy enough to be smog.
There’s no significant cloud cover – at least from what I can tell. This weather seems to be for city-cloaking devices only.
My only thought is perhaps it’s some kind of dust-storm. I asked a local, and he didn’t think so.
“No – when Beijing gets sand storms, everything is covered in a thin layer of yellow-ish dust,” he answered.
This would imply the cloud would have a yellow tint. Which it does not.
Well folks. I don’t know what it is. The only thing I can say is, I hope we get some wind soon!