Pat Shingleton for Thursday, July 11, 2013

In January, the pollution in Beijing, China, reached levels unprecedented since the beginning of air quality monitoring in 2008. The Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society reports pollution monitoring systems could not measure the levels due to their intensity. We rely on the Department of Environmental Quality for daily readings and alerts of elevated ozone levels. To combat the problem in China, the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center is using the smile of a pony-tailed girl to advertise their air quality. The girl depicts six facial expressions signifying various levels of air pollution. Excellent levels find the girl smiling while serious pollution levels have her literally “crying her eyes out.” Her hair color also changes from environmentally acceptable green to heavy-pollution red. Fastcast: Afternoon showers.