The waters of the Yellow Sea were filled with colorful sediment in late October 2019. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of the scene on October 31.
Located between mainland China (west) and the Korean Peninsula in the east, the Yellow and East China Seas are one of the most turbid and dynamic ocean areas in the world.
The most massive swatch of tan discoloration sits near the coast of China in the southwestern section of the image. This is China’s Subei Shoal, an area where shallow water depths, tidal currents, strong winds, and runoff from several rivers combine to create extremely turbid water. Where heavy sediment pours into the sea the waters appear muddy-tan. Further away from shore, the sediments begin to sink and the reflectivity changes, creating a greenish cast. Overlying the scene, a greyish layer of haze stretches over the Yellow Sea between China and the Korean Peninsula.