Certain phenomena appear as clouds when viewed from space but in fact are man-made “clouds” rather than natural water vapor clouds. This picture of Madagascar shows smoke from extensive agricultural burning drifting out to sea. At the bottom of the frame is the Betsiboka Estuary, drenched in red by the sediment being washed away from inland where extensive forest and vegetation cleaning has resulted in accelerated soil erosion. Such erosion has severe economic implications for a community dependent on agriculture. The burning seen in this photograph is likely to contribute further to surface soil erosion.
STS 51-I, October 1985. Picture #51J-43-077.