ST. LOUIS – Our skies have been hazy the last few days, a result of wildfire smoke from dozens of fires burning in western Canada.
The British Columbia Wildfire Service said they have 300 firefighters and over 130 structural protection firefighters employed to tackle the blaze, and the next 48 hours are critical.
The jetstream is responsible for carrying the smoke from those wildfires to the Midwest, leading to a hazy sky despite low cloud cover. FOX 2’s Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX caught the smoke’s effect in the sunrise this morning in St. Louis, making our sunrises and sunsets more vibrant due to the way the smoke scatters the sun’s rays.
John Nahon, manager of Energy Stage and Earth Sciences at the Saint Louis Science Center, said that it all has to do with light being different colors because of its different wavelengths.
“Here on the right, we’re getting a little bit more of the blue color. That’s a really high-wavelength light, Nahon said. “Over here, we have this red, which is the longest wavelength.”
This relates to sunsets because the light from the sun comes in many colors.
“During the day, these different wavelengths come down, and the one we see is predominantly blue because it’s a really high wavelength,” Nahon said. “It scatters and shoots these blue light particles everywhere, so we see it with our eyeballs.”
When the sun is at a low angle in the morning and evening, we see different colors.
“That blue light is hitting the atmosphere and scattering. It has so much more atmosphere to go through that it actually can’t make it through,” Nahon said. “Our red and our orange are able to get through the atmosphere, and that’s why we predominately see those colors at sunrise and sunset. Now with these fires going on, that effect is heightened. Those really big particles of particulate matter that are coming down are really effectively blocking our blue and our green and our yellow, and even our orange. So all we see really, for the most part, is that really nice bright crimson red color that comes through.”