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Smoke Spreads from Southeast Asia
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Smoke Spreads from Southeast Asia

March 25, 2004
Smoke is an international traveler that moves with the wind and weather across borders. On March 24, 2004, smoke from fires in Southeast Asia -- as far away as India -- has stretched thousands of kilometers away, and hangs in a dirty-looking haze across a bank of clouds over the South China Sea. At this time of year, agricultural burning takes place across Southeast Asia as both large-scale and small farmers clear land for planting or grazing. To the north, the haze may include some dust, as dust storms have been sweeping across the Taklimakan and Gobi Deserts in northern China in mid-March. Dust is known to be a carrier of disease. Both dust and smoke reduce visibility and decrease sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface, which in turn affects productivity in crops and other plants.