Smoke From Siberian Wildfires Invades Northeastern U.S.

Brian Donegan
Published: July 12, 2018

Smoke from wildfires over 4,000 miles away in Siberia reached parts of the northeastern United States this week because of the alignment of jet stream winds aloft.

Visible satellite imagery from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere's Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch  showed a wisp of this Siberian wildfire smoke stretching from the Great Lakes across Pennsylvania and into southern New England on Wednesday.

Red arrows on this visible satellite image denote the position of the Siberian wildfire smoke on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Hurricane Chris can be seen well off the mid-Atlantic coast.
(CIRA/RAMMB)

Before arriving in the northeastern U.S., the smoke was transported south and eastward across Canada by the jet stream winds on Tuesday, as noted in a tweet by Scott Bachmeier, a research meteorologist at NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS).

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has been tracking the Siberian smoke for the past week, using the aerosol index. The teal, green, yellow and purple shadings in central Canada on the map below indicate higher concentrations of aerosols in the atmosphere, corresponding with the smoke on Tuesday.

Teal, green, yellow and purple shadings indicate higher concentrations of aerosols in the atmosphere, corresponding with Siberian wildfire smoke over central Canada on Tuesday, July 10, 2018.
(NASA Goddard)

Skies were hazy in Alaska last weekend as the wildfire smoke crossed the 49th state.

(MORE: Alaska Breaks July Heat and Snow Records)

A map from globalforestwatch.org indicated multiple wildfires were burning in eastern Siberia.

Strong winds aloft in the polar jet stream carried some of the smoke from those fires across the Bering Strait and into northern Alaska, then southeastward into central Canada and eventually across the Great Lakes and eastward into southern New England. That's a path of over 4,000 miles.

White arrows represent the approximate path of the Siberian wildfire smoke over the past week.

Brian Donegan is a meteorologist at weather.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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