I remember that when I was younger I saw sci-fi stuff and art showing air pollution to become so bad that the sky color changed to either redder and brighter or dimmer and dark grey.In other words, the sky is no longer cyan blue.And it seen that plants become to look like black/grey and appear to be dead.Do you think such thing can actually happen?


closed as off-topic by StephenG, elemtilas, Vincent, L.Dutch, Aify Jun 18 '18 at 5:51

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – elemtilas, Vincent, L.Dutch, Aify
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is a pretty good article on the net that explains why the sky is blue, and goes into the impact of pollution in the form of dust and other particulates, mainly from volcanoes. I'd strongly recommend starting there but while the article doesn't actually say it, the amount of dust and pollution required in an atmosphere as dense as Earth's to change it to similar chromatic behaviour as that of Mars would be HUGE. You'd probably be dead from a pollution winter long before you see the colour of the sky change. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jun 18 '18 at 2:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It already is in the skies above China's cities. Blue sky is now rare there. Your question doesn't ask if the phenomenon could be planet-wide, but it can happen, as it does, locally or in certain regions. The carbon consumption to darken Earth's skies is fortunately beyond our capacity. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jun 18 '18 at 3:42

I was recently close to a wildfire with a great deal of ash in the air and falling. The sky was dark, and the sun was completely red, and dim enough that you could look right at it. So yes, from personal experience, what you are talking about can certainly happen (although if that happened worldwide it would be a lot like nuclear winter).

That said... The discoloration and temperature drop are both caused by particulates, ie soot. Modern factories don't really release soot into the air, since it's pretty easy to keep out of the atmosphere with a filter. The main climate concern with modern factories is CO2 emission. And CO2 does not alter the color of the atmosphere, it just traps more heat.

So, in conclusion, what you are describing is very unlikely, unless technology and governmental regulations on pollution both regressed significantly. To my knowledge, the only things that could release that much soot into the air is nuclear war or massive volcanic activity.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.