The color plume you see below is smoke from the Canadian wildfires that are moving inland through the Northeast throughout today. Furthermore, the fact that it would be rather more noticeable than usual due to sufficient mixing in the boundary layer (1-2 km lowest of the atmosphere) and inversion of subsidence just overhead to help retain smoke.
So where exactly did it come from, and why is there such a unique movement from east to west? When we analyzed today’s 500mb sample across North America, we found that we had a regional outflow across Canada represented in green and blue. This outlines the jet line. Downstream through the Northeast, we have ruts. As we know, ridges are clockwise periodic rings, and it is located just east of the upper ridges where there is high pressure on the surface.
Now as we look towards the boundary layer at 850mb (this is considered the top of the boundary layer), notice that the high pressure crossed the coast of Maine and shifted south of Nova Scotia. The currents reveal an easterly current, and it’s because this wind pattern and the right atmospheric conditions allow that plume of Canadian wildfire smoke to reach inland.
Thanks to a word parameter NOAA’s Research Model Team, this shows that the vertically integrated smoke measures the depth of the aerosol in the atmosphere. This is basically what the first loop shows, except here we can trace the source of the smoke. The manifestation of wildfire smoke originates from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This smoke rises, is caught in the upper and surface atmospheres, and is carried hundreds to thousands of miles. We can see how the smoke outlines the atmospheric winds around a high pressure and its end pointing directly into the Northeastern part of the United States.
So today areas from NJ to ME can handle visibility less than 10 miles. As for the air quality, there will be no need for a warning as it will be mostly foggy today and will subside as we enter the middle of the week. It’s just another sign of summer as wildfires become more prominent under mountain ranges across rural parts of North America and cloudy skies.
About the author
Hello! My name is Armando Salvadore and I am a Mississippi State graduate with a Bachelor of Professional Meteorology and an Activity Meteorologist working in the Private Sector. Stay tuned if you like technical, exotic, and general weather tweets! Also big on long-range forecasting as well! Twitter: @KaptMands