Haze this evening caused by smoke

Smoke from wildfires in Canada is creating hazy skies in Central New York.

Posted: Aug. 20, 2018 6:07 PM
Updated: Aug. 20, 2018 6:10 PM

Have you noticed quite a bit of haze in the sky over the past few days?  It's not weather related - certainly not humidity.  It's much less humid today compared to late last week.  The haze is caused by wildfires in Canada.  We can track the smoke using weather satellites.

This image above is called visible imagery - taken from a satellite called GOES 16. This satellite is orbiting the earth at the same speed of earth's rotation. This is called a geostationary orbit, and it is incredibly needed because it allows us to track weather in one area all the time. The image captures what light looks like from outer space. The state lines are drawn in by computer of course, but this image is very helpful in spotting clouds. The haze in CNY is what smoke looks like from space. We can also confirm this by looking at infrared imagery.

This image, taken around the same time as the one above it, captures temperatures of clouds The brighter clouds (especially the yellows, greens, and reds) are cold clouds - implying they are high in the atmosphere. The low clouds show up darker. Cirrus clouds, which look similar to today's haze, shows up brightly on the image - but not in CNY.

In clear weather conditions, we can often pick out the source of the smoke. The haze will often get brighter and then stop in one particular area, indicating the location of the fire.  Unfortunately today's clouds in Ontario are covering that source.

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