From Russia with love? Siberian wildfire smoke means rosy sunsets in Seattle


From Russia with love? Siberian wildfire smoke means rosy sunsets in Seattle

11 July 2012

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USA / Russia –  The Pacific Northwest and Canada’s British Columbia can thank Russia for some fantastic sunsets in recent days. Smoke from several dozen wildfires in Siberia has been wafting over the Pacific, turning the skies a brilliant red and orange at dusk. The downside has been some rather hazy daylight at times.

The sunset in Seattle, Wash., on Sunday drew this crowd at Gasworks Park.

“It isn’t uncommon for smoke from large wildfires in Siberia to be lofted high enough into the atmosphere that winds push plumes of it across the Pacific Ocean to North America,” NASA noted on its Earth Observatory website while showing a satellite view of the smoke.

In Seattle, University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass tipped off followers of his blog that the smoke would produce some red sunsets along the coast and northwest parts of the state.

But the smoke has also meant some haze, especially farther north in British Columbia, Claire Martin, a meteorologist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., said on the CBC website.

“It’s looping below the Aleutians and then back to Vancouver,” Martin said of the smoke.

NASA last month reported its scientists were tracking the smoke now that wildfire season has started in Russia and other parts of Asia.

“The smoke plumes were lofted up to at least 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the intense heat of the fires,” NASA scientist Colin Seftor stated of an event in early June. “At that point the smoke got picked up by higher level winds.”

“Not only smoke and dust can get carried long distance,” he added. “Pollutants, and even disease-carrying spores can be carried by the prevailing winds.”

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