USA/Russia –– SEATTLE Wildfire smoke drifting across the ocean from Siberia to the Pacific Northwest may explain why Seattle has had so many spectacular sunsets recently.
Dozens of wildfires on Russia’s east coast have burned hot enough to lift the smoke high into the air, where it gets caught in the jet stream, scientists say. It’s then carried across the ocean to the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Times reported (http://bit.ly/Mu4uoD).
Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, said the smoke isn’t a health risk but may be the reason behind the recent series of spectacular sunsets.
“It’s fading now a little bit, but the fires are not over,” he said. The smoke has lessened over Seattle in the last few days but didn’t prevent a vivid sunset on Thursday, he added.
“We always see some level of smoke and pollution” from East Asia, Dan Jaffe, a professor of atmospheric and environmental chemistry at UW Bothell told the Times. It’s especially common in the springtime.
But the smoke that has drifted here in the last two weeks is the worst since 2003, Jaffe said.
It’s fed by huge fires burning near Lake Baikal and on the Kamchatka Peninsula on Russia’s east coast. Last week, 67 wildfires were burning in Eastern Russia, according to RIA Novosti, a Russian state news agency.