Smoke from West Coast wildfires impacts North Country skies


(source: NOAA)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — As the North Country woke up to a cold and frosty morning, many couldn’t help but notice a vibrant pink sun against a cloudy sky.

Although a beautiful sight, the cloudy conditions can be attributed to the ongoing west-coast wildfires.

According to a live map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, smoke and dust from the wildfires burning in California and Oregon is now covering most of the United States and Southern Canada.

Smoke conditions over the Eastern United States, NOAA HRRR-Smoke (source: NOAA)

As of September 15, 2020 NOAA stated that high density smoke will extend from portions of the Upper Midwest through the Northern Plains, Rockies, Pacific Northwest, southern Canada and offshore into the Pacific Ocean. However, New York will continue to see cloudy skies.

According to NASA, aerosols are also suspended in the air along with the smoke creating hazardous air quality across the U.S. NASA started that aerosols are a mixture of small particles and chemicals produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials such as trees, grasses, peat, brush. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter.

Using the OMPS (Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite) instrument aboard NOAA/NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite aerosols are detected and measured in terms of thickness and height of the atmospheric aerosol layer. For most atmospheric events involving aerosols, the AI ranges from 0.0 (colorless through light yellow, yellow, orange, and red) to 5.0 (deep red), with 5.0 indicating heavy concentrations of aerosols that could reduce visibilities or impact health.
Credits: NOAA/NASA/Worldview

These smoke conditions are expected to continue as the wildfires burn on the West Coast.


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