The haze which has been blanketing northern India for several weeks continues to plague the region in mid-December, 2011. The thick aerosol soup not only hugs the southern face of the Himalaya, but also pours southward over both coasts, stretching across the Bay of Bengal in the east and over the Arabian Sea in the west. The haze at the southern tip of India is covered by a layer of cloud.
The “winter monsoon” begins in November/December, bringing winds that blow from the northeast and carry little moisture. This is also the time that temperature inversions occur frequently, as cold air settles over northern India and traps warmer air underneath. This air layer becomes laden with aerosols, which in this region is rich in smoke, sulfates, nitrates, organic and black carbon and fly ash, primarily from human activities. (MODIS)