Smoke & Haze from West Wildfires Reaches Midwest

Smoke from West Wildfires Reaches Midwest

haze from smoke Wisconsin map

satellite images smoke and particles
Satellite Smoke Map

Have you noticed the sun looks a little more orange than usual?  In the skies of Northeast Wisconsin, smoke from wildfires is creating hazy conditions in the western US. FOX 11 Meteorology Director Pete Petoniak says the smoke from those fires is carried by upper-level winds thousands of miles away, making the skies appear milky around here.

The haze also makes for some vivid sunrises and sunsets. The smoke filters out shorter wavelengths of light, leaving mainly orange and red shining through.

Two recent photos of the United States were taken by the NPP satellite and both photos indicate that the winds have shifted again, pushing the smoke back to the East from western fires and crossing the continental USA. Tiny air-suspended particles (aerosols) are also carried along the jet stream alongside the smoke and carry unhealthy air quality across the world. The picture on the left depicts the whole of the United States and the smoke cloud that hangs over much of it

The picture to the right shows the aerosols that go with the smoke. Aerosols are a mixture of small particles and chemicals formed by incomplete burning of materials that contain carbon, such as trees, grasses, peat, brush, etc. All smoke includes particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. The smaller the particles, the easier to inhale and absorb them into the lungs. From the EPA website: "Small particles pose the greatest health hazard from the smoke. They can cause a variety of health issues, from burning eyes and a runny nose to exacerbated chronic heart and lung diseases. Particle pollution exposure is even associated with premature death. 

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