Friday, August 14, 2015

Large fires in the west are producing a lot of smoke. Not much of the smoke has been transported to Utah, yet. Early next week we may see some smoke as the upper level flow turns more zonal which will blow the smoke directly east of California.
GFS forecast for Monday at Midnight

From yesterday's satellite image you can see from the MODIS satellite images the fire hot-spots and the smoke plume dispersion.

From the satellites we can calculate the optical depth of the atmosphere. Optical depth is a measure of how much light can penetrate a layer of atmosphere. Below shows the same area with high optical depths (reds) at the location of smoke plumes and low optical depth (blues and purples) over clear skies, meaning light goes all the way to the surface without much depletion. Optical depth isn't calculated for clouded areas.

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