Western wildfires give us hazy skies

CaptureYou may have noticed the haze in the sky over the weekend and today. Usually, haze is a sign of high humidity, but that’s not the case this go-around.

Our hazy skies this week are caused by wildfires burning in the Rockies! The U.S. Forest Service reports nearly 50 large fires burning in ten western states. This MODIS satellite image was taken this afternoon. The milky-blue hue over the Great Lakes is the smoke/haze high within the atmosphere. The haze isn’t necessarily a major health concern, however some folks with breathing difficulty might want to stay indoors. An Air Quality Alert has been hoisted for the Chicago Area…moreso for the Ozone concentration.

Capture2As the jet stream continues its west-to-east orientation this week, we’ll likely see more hazy days thanks to the fires. Not to mention, we’ll have increasing humidity this week which will add water vapor to the haze!

The good thing about this haze? It should make the view of this week’s blue moon spectacular (Especially around moonrise and moonset). I’ve written more about the blue moon here. The increased haze will cause our blue moon to take on a more orange look, especially when the moon is nearer to the horizon. It’s the same optical effect as the sun shining red near sunrise and sunset (as the light travels through more of the Earth’s atmosphere).

Have a great night! -Eric

p.s. If you get any great photos of the blue moon, send them to me weather@wrex.com or Tweet me! http://www.twitter.com/ericsorensen

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This post was written by qni_it on August 19, 2013

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