World Watch


IN THE THICK OF IT: Indonesians in Borneo buy masks to protect against choking smoke

No Silver Lining to This Cloud
A thick brown haze hangs in the air over South Asia, scientists working for the U.N. Environment Program reported. The brown cloud, made of smoke and carbon monoxide that cause respiratory illnesses, suppresses up to 15% of the sunlight falling on it. The haze is altering the winter monsoon, cutting rainfall over northwestern Asia by between 20% and 40%, while increasing it farther east — which may explain this summer's exceptionally heavy monsoon in Bangladesh, Nepal and northeast India. But the cloud is not just a regional problem, the scientists...

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