How did western wildfires turn the sky orange? • Earth.com

How did western wildfires turn the sky orange?

09-23-2020


How did western wildfires turn the sky orange? Today’s Video of the Day from the American Chemical Society describes how shocking red and orange skies have appeared throughout areas of the western United States during devastating wildfires.

The scientists explain that very unusual conditions, in which smoke plumes reach high into the atmosphere, create a layer of soot that blocks out blue light particles. By contrast, red light particles are scattered and intensified. You might be wondering why today the sky has taken on an almost orange hue. The smoke alters the wavelengths of light, and the longer (red) wavelengths become more prevalent as shorter wavelengths block. Wildfire smoke only accentuates that effect. “The thing with wildfires is that the smoke puts a lot of extra particles up in the atmosphere. So now we’re getting the red scattering over even more of those particles, and you can get some amazing red sunsets during wildfires. 

Video Credit: American Chemical Society 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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