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Sun + Smoke : Illuminating Air Pollution

Sunny Stretch Record Set + Forest Fire Smoke 
Sunny weather makes the smoke more visible than ever during a record breaking stretch of hot summer weather while the Canadian forest fires blaze away making smoke that continues to blanket the Northwest for days; unhealthy air when its fun to be outside :( 

Evening Moon image : Smoke enhancing the color! 
Particulate Matter or PM are small particles of air pollution that give smoke light blocking (filtering) properties that make the image above more interesting. Winter air stagnation can create similar levels of air pollution as the Canadian forest fires but often goes unnoticed because of dark cold winter weather that keeps most people indoors and unaware of the soot/ smoke and PM created by burning wood for heat, something many households do during the winter.

The air pollution levels in King County, Wa, USA are about twice as bad as the notoriously bad air quality around Beijing, China. In China the air pollution comes from the burning of coal for heat & power in homes & factories. According to air quality scientists, the air currrent pollution levels are bad for respiratory health. Small particulate matter or PM particles can enter the body via the lungs, entering the blood stream where they can trigger strokes or heart attacks, causing respiratory problem, triggering asthma attacks, making it more difficult for people with COPD to breath. Young children & elderly people are the most adversely affected by the inhalation of air pollutants.

The PM from forest fires smoke is safer than the PM from coal power plants due to the nature of the combustion processes & materials burned. A forest is 100% natural and the burning of forests is also a natural process. The smoke from burning forests does not contain high levels of heavy metals like coal power soot. The heavy toxic metals in coal power emissions are the primary reason for the toxic impacts of coal power. The fly ash and soot emitted by a coal power plant can & are often filtered by elaborate dust bag capturing filtering systems to clean up the emissions stream. There is no practical way of filtering the atmospheric pollution from forest fire smoke with technology.

There is a high pressure system off the coast of Washington State that keeps the air dry, pushing away rain clouds, and allowing a southern atmospheric flow process that keeps bringing forest fire smoke from Western Canada as far south as southern Oregon, blanketing the northwest in smoke, soot, dust & particulate matter.

A record stretch of Sunny weather without rain broken the 1952 record. This bright clear sunny weather makes the smoke more visible. Normally on shore flow brings fresh air in from over the pacific ocean to flush out air pollution in Puget Sound, in and around Seattle. Rain similarly rinses particulates and other air pollution components from the air during inclement weather events. Without flushing wind or rinsing rain, the air pollution from Canadian forest fires combines with local tail pipe emissions from airports like SeaTac and from busy traffic corridors like I5 & I405.

Notice the particle light dispersion effect of the Smoke
Suspended particular matter PM & Sunlight
Image of the Sun at 8am on 8/8/2017 

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