Its Smoky Outside

Smelled something odd this morning. Didn’t think anything of it. Then I got this email from the Town of Chapel Hill:

Smell smoke?

Due to the cold front passing through, the smoke from the Georgia wildfires has migrated to North Carolina. You may see a slight haze and smell smoke in the area from these wildfires, the Chapel Hill Fire Department reports.

If you feel your situation is different (if the smoke is abnormally thick or heavy in your area) do not dismiss it. Call 911.

Later came the more cryptic National Weather statement:

FPUS72 KRAH 161418
NOWRAH SHORT TERM FORECAST NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC 1018 AM EDT WED MAY 16 2007 NCZ007>010-021>026-038>041-073>077-083>086-088-161745- PERSON-GRANVILLE-VANCE-WARREN-FORSYTH-GUILFORD-ALAMANCE-ORANGE- DURHAM-FRANKLIN-DAVIDSON-RANDOLPH-CHATHAM-WAKE-STANLY-MONTGOMERY- MOORE-LEE-HARNETT-ANSON-RICHMOND-SCOTLAND-HOKE-CUMBERLAND- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…ROXBORO…OXFORD…HENDERSON… WARRENTON…WINSTON-SALEM…GREENSBORO…HIGH POINT… BURLINGTON…CHAPEL HILL…DURHAM…LOUISBURG…LEXINGTON… ASHEBORO…PITTSBORO…RALEIGH…ALBEMARLE…TROY… SOUTHERN PINES…SANFORD…LILLINGTON…WADESBORO…ROCKINGHAM… LAURINBURG…RAEFORD…FAYETTEVILLE 1018 AM EDT WED MAY 16 2007 .NOW… STRONG SOUTHWESTERLY WINDS OF 35 TO 40 MPH JUST OFF THE SURFACE WILL SPREAD A SMOKE PLUME ACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA THROUGH NOON TODAY. THE SMOKE PLUME ORIGINATES FROM WILDFIRES IN PARTS OF SOUTHEAST GEORGIA AND NORTHERN FLORIDA. AS THE AIR TEMPERATURES CONTINUES TO HEAT UP…THE SMOKE PLUME SHOULD GRADUALLY LIFT HIGHER IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND BECOME LESS CONCENTRATED. UNTIL THEN…THE SMOKE PLUME WILL CAUSE HAZY CONDITIONS…REDUCING VISIBILITY RESTRICTIONS TO 3 TO 5 MILES. PERSONS WHO SUFFER FROM ASTHMA OR OTHER BREATHING AILMENTS SHOULD LIMIT OUTDOOR EXPOSURE TODAY.

The Florida fires raging now where said to have been started by lightning. The smoke here in North Carolina far away from Georgia and Northern Florida is an amazing effect. It demonstrates the truly global nature of our environments change. It got me wondering if the amount of lightning has increased and or decreased along with global climate change.

After a bit of google searching I found the document Possible implications of global climate change on global lightning distributions and frequencies. It says:

The results suggest a 30% increase in global lightning activity for the warmer climate and a 24% decrease in global lightning activity for the colder climate.

To me the smoke outside demonstrates the interconnectiveness of everyone on Earth. In this example all of the South Eastern United States. Will it be really hard for future generations to breath? Will we all be gasping for air?

Right now everything is fine. It just smells bad for most folks. But just when you think you can be at a safe distance from the problems in the world…

One thought on “Its Smoky Outside

  1. winstongator

    The 30% is an estimate based upon a 4oC increase in temp. There has only been 0.5oC thus far, which corresponds to a rough 5% modeled increase in lightning. FL gets the most lightning in the US, and has areas that are prone to fires. There were major fires like this in 1998, and they have more to do with dry conditions than raw amount of lightning.

    Reply

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