At 2:30 Universal Time (10:30 a.m. local time) on August 13, 2015, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired an image of a dark plume drifting over the Bohai Sea off the east coast of China. About three hours later, the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured a second image of the plume after it had moved southeast toward the Shangdong Peninsula.
The source of the smoke appears to be industrial fires associated with two massive explosions that occurred late on August 12 at a port in Tianjin, China. Wildfires in eastern China likely produced the streams of light gray smoke also visible in the images.
A series of images collected by the Advanced Himawari Imager on Japan’s Himawari-8 satellite show the smoke moving east in the early morning before winds sent it curling south.