The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) HRRR forecast model is suggesting that smoke from fires burning in California will spread east across much of the United States this week. The HRRR, short for High Resolution Rapid Refresh, is a NOAA real-time 3-km resolution, hourly updated, cloud-resolving, convection-allowing atmospheric model, initialized by 3km grids with 3km radar assimilation. Radar data is assimilated in the HRRR every 15 min over a 1-h period adding further detail to that provided by the hourly data assimilation from the 13km radar-enhanced “rapid refresh.”
By exploring where smoke particles are now and modeling out where they’ll travel, scientists have an idea how wind currents around the country will carry the smoke east.
Fortunately for those with asthma or other breathing disorders, much of the smoke will be well above the surface in the eastern United States. While most won’t be able to smell the smoke, the air will look hazy, especially when looking straight up.
Another impact from this smoke will be stunning sunsets across the northern half of the United States. Sunsets showcase oranges and reds associated with longer wavelengths from the sun. But with smoke particles in abundance in the atmosphere, the red and orange wavelengths will scatter even more across the sky, leading to more dramatic colors to the evening sky.