The extensive smoke clouds in this photograph, drifting across Lake Nyasa and joining with more smoke being produced in Tanzania, obscures the astronauts’ view of Earth quite extensively. Individual point sources of smoke are visible. A photograph such as this one clearly illustrates that “local” agricultural burning does not remain a local phenomenon. These clouds of smoke cover hundreds of miles, polluting the lower atmosphere over a vast area. In the tropics the smoke will only remain in the atmosphere for a few weeks until it is rained out due to the high rainfall rate.
STS 51-J, October 1985. Picture #51J-50-012.