In the span of a few days, San Francisco has turned into a scene from a science fiction movie as the region has been engulfed by a thick layer of ash and smoke born from the wildfires currently raging in California, over 337 kilometres away.
According to local pollution control agency Bay Area Air Quality, the reason why San Francisco is currently bathed in a dark shade of orange is down to how the smoke particles interact with the blue light, (a shorter light wavelength). “These smoke particles scatter blue light & only allow yellow-orange-red light to reach the surface, causing skies to look orange. If smoke becomes too thick in a certain area, most of the light will be scattered & absorbed before reaching the surface, which may cause dark skies,” explained the agency in a tweet.
These smoke particles scatter blue light & only allow yellow-orange-red light to reach the surface, causing skies to look orange. If smoke becomes too thick in a certain area, most of the light will be scattered & absorbed before reaching the surface, which may cause dark skies.
— Bay Area Air Quality (@AirDistrict) September 9, 2020
We’ve seen a number of images posted to social media of this exact phenomenon, but a recent video tweeted by the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) shows us exactly how bad the situation has gotten over then last few day.
In the video, which is a time laps of an airplane taking off from the San Francisco International Airport, you can see the plane back out of its gate and make its way down the runway. As the plane takes off, you can see the true extent of the smoke, as the orange hue stretches all the way to the horizon.
Take a look at the clip below:
— San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ✈️ (@flySFO) September 10, 2020
Another user by the name of Valerie Sternberg then posted a video of a plane landing in Oakland Airport at around 6pm, in which she claims they could smell the smoke from within the cabin as they were coming in to land.
Yesterday about 20 min before landing at Oakland Airport around 6pm. Everyone in the plane got silent. It was intense – could smell the smoke too. pic.twitter.com/4rdfGhKLQi
— valerie sternberg (@valglo) September 10, 2020
In 2020 alone more than 2.5 million acres of land has burnt down as a result of wildfires, and experts believe that is only going to get worse. This is because as California enters Autumn, the changing of seasons will bring with it strong wind conditions, also known as the Santa Ana and Diablo winds, which will only spread the fires even further.
“It’s another ingredient to throw into the apocalypse of 2020. Santa Anas are extremely hazardous for fire weather,” Jeff Weber, a research meteorologist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, told Mashable.
Image credit: Twitter/@MustacheTommy