What’s with the occasional hazy skies lately?

Posted: May 16, 2023 4:46 pm | Last Updated: May 16th, 2023 8:01 pm
By Eddie Sheerr

What’s with the occasional hazy skies lately?

Have you noticed that the skies are a bit hazy over parts of the Island the last few days? If you’re wondering what that is, it is smoke from the wildfires burning in Alberta and British Columbia. Alberta is currently reporting 86 active wildfires. Of those 86

  • 15 are being held
  • 24 are out of control
  • 47 are under control

These wildfires are producing a lot of smoke. As the air is heated, the smoke is carried to high levels of the atmosphere. And that smoke is being blown eastward by upper levels of winds, or the jet stream. The animation below shows you where the smoke currently is, and where it’s forecast to be moved to over the next couple of days.

Red sunrises and sunsets

The smoke in the atmosphere can often lead to red-looking sunrises and sunsets. This is due to the fact that the smoke blocks out some of the shorter wavelengths of the light that passes through the earth’s atmosphere from the sun. Red is a longer wavelength, so we tend to see more of that when the skies are hazy due to smoke.

Can you smell it?

This is a big maybe… but I tend to doubt we will as the smoke is traveling from thousands of kilometers away. However, if the concentration is high enough, and we end up in a situation where high pressure is overhead, leading to sinking air… it’s a possibility!

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