Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Great Smokies

The Salt Lake Valley is smoke filled this morning.  The photo below shows the faint outline of the Wasatch Mountains above the SSB building on the University of Utah campus.

Yesterday afternoons MODIS image suggests that smoke from multiple sources in California and Nevada may be contributing.  The red areas designate active fires.

Source: NASA
The local Faust fire southwest of Dugway and Pinyon Fire in Camp Williams could also be contributors.  These seem to be the only major local fires noted on this morning.


  1. There are over two dozen large fires over the southern half of Idaho and northern half of Nevada, and many smaller ones, with about 200 new lightning starts reported in that region this past week. Many of these are in remote areas, and some are expected to burn until significant precipitation occurs (typically October or November in that area). So, we might be seeing smoke for a while.

  2. As I walked around today, I was thinking that the reduced light through the smoke resembled the partial light during the eclipse in May. Does anyone know how much light is being filtered out due to the haze?

    1. We measure solar radiation at our site on campus. Data is available at With effort, one could attempt to use this to answer your question, although care needs to be taken to account for non-haze effects (e.g., high clouds, etc.).