While US Embassy Pollution Index Measured 755 Last Night, Beijing’s Official Air Quality Index Was “Out Of Service” [UPDATE: Video]

We don’t really get how a reading that theoretically should max out at 500 can spit out a number like 886 755, but look at the above.

A BJC reader reports that in his high-rise office, he was able to look above and see blue sky, but could not see the building across the street — so if there’s any doubt that this was smog and not fog, put them to rest.

It got so bad last night that Beijing’s official air-quality index conveniently went “out of service” from 10 pm to 10 am this morning. When it came back, it featured this warning:

Air quality has not essentially changed. Still recommend everyone reduce outdoor activities and time spent (outdoors).

Meanwhile, throughout the course of the afternoon and evening, the US Embassy’s index registered an hourly reading below 600 just once from 3 pm yesterday to 5 am. Right now it sits at 345 — still “hazardous,” but at least back on the chart:

Air quality chart

CORRECTION, 2:54 pm: As noted in the comments section, the AQI is the second number in @BeijingAir’s tweets, so it maxed out at a ridiculous 755, not the slightly more ridiculous 886.

POSTSCRIPT: Here’s a Youku video illustrating how bad it got:

    7 Responses to “While US Embassy Pollution Index Measured 755 Last Night, Beijing’s Official Air Quality Index Was “Out Of Service” [UPDATE: Video]”

    1. Elizabeth

      The US Embassy tweets features two numbers: the first one is micrograms per cubic meter and the second is AQI. The chart is for AQI, so you want to look at the second number in the tweet. The tweet you have screenshot is AQI 755, not 886.

    2. terroir

      Can anyone direct the link for the website that has a daily shot of the BJ City skyline in which the beautiful vista can be seen in its beautiful shades of mustard and ochre?

      I have my own “impressionist landscape” that I’d love to add to some communal suffering pool, if it exists. A sub-Reddit, maybe?

    3. fdawei David

      Why can’t the Beijing government, the central government and other government mayors in China “Come Clean” (LOL) about this rather than obfuscating, blurring details and conveniently having the main AQI system in Beijing out of service for 12 hours.
      We can see it, breathe it and become ill from this blight on society (2012?), but the leadership are blinded by their dystopian view of their world.
      To make matters worse, if one should have to buy medicine in any quantity from a pharmacy, you are obliged, by some vague law, to present either your passport or ID card and are then limited to one or two packs of whichever medicine you select. Your purchase is also recorded in what appears to be a huge doomsday book, duly filled in by the dispensing clerk.
      Absolutely frightening !

    4. lol

      Isn’t it obvious? The excessive pollution broke the Chinese station’s low quality sensors. A perfect storm of poor quality products and pollution.


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