Seattle’s heat wave, wildfire haze could linger into next week, weather service says


 
03 August 2017

published by http://www.seattletimes.com


Canada - The haze from Canada’s nearly two dozen active wildfires is hanging around Washington state, doing its thing: acting like a blanket between the Earth and the sun, keeping it a bit cooler during the day and a bit warmer during the night.

But it’s also worsening our air quality to unhealthy levels.

“The smoke has a two-fold effect (on the weather),” said Dustin Guy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Seattle. “It holds the daytime temperature down like a cloud and holds the overnight lows up.”

Thursday’s high hit a record 94 for the date at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, or a few degrees less than was expected, thanks to the smoke. The previous record for Aug. 3 was 90 degrees, set in 1988.

Wednesday’s overnight low was 68 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which also set a record as the highest overnight low for the date, previously set at 63 degrees.

Guy said the haze is expected to remain over Western Washington through the weekend and possibly into next week.

Guy said that daytime temperatures are expected to come down slightly, but not dramatically, over the next few days.

“It looks like it will be around 90 degrees on Friday and 85 to 90 degrees through the weekend,” he said.

“We will get a little onshore flow from the West as we get into Saturday, but it will be fairly weak and the haze will be with us for a while,” Guy said. “Today and tomorrow will be very smoky, with 3 to 5 miles of visibility.”

Guy said the smoke was affecting flights in and out of Sea-Tac Airport.
Health effects

The state Department of Ecology has listed the air quality over Seattle, Tacoma and other parts of Western Washington as unhealthy.

Dr. Rick Bowles, a family doctor with Pacific Medical Center in Seattle, advised people with concerns over air quality to stay inside if possible during the hazy days, work out in a gym instead of outside, and to keep needed medications at hand.

“It’s been really horrible for people with asthma and emphysema,” he said. People have also been experiencing throat and eye irritation, he said.

For dealing with the heat, Bowles suggested staying hydrated, avoiding over-exertion and dressing in loose, light-colored clothing.

He says keep water with you and sip it all day rather than trying to guzzle it in a few sittings. Keeping hydrated reduces the amount of smoke that can travel deep into your lungs.

Bowles also warned that heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be “very serious and can be exceedingly dangerous,” especially to infants, young children and older adults.

If a heat-related illness is suspected, get the affected person to lie down and try to lower their core temperature by getting fluids into them and placing cool, wet rags on their body, Bowles said.

So stay mindful, take precautions and don’t look to the skies for immediate relief.

“We are going to get an onshore push of cool air, but in the current situation it’s not going to be a drastic cool down,” said Guy, the meteorologist. “So the good news is it will cool down, but it’s not going to be a blast of cooler air that happens overnight.”

An international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

"Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe," says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. "By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences."



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCp
An international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.
 

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

"Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe," says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. "By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences."



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCp