Toxic Atmosphere – Toxic Landscapes – Aerosol pollution

Month: August, 2015

An array of odd clouds over PDX PNW 0615 — Plus a summation based on ground observations.

Portland, Oregon USA 2015.

– This past June I was startled to see some really odd looking clouds over me. The weather that day was unseasonably warm but not too unusual. These clouds were mostly in the lower to mid levels of the atmosphere.

New oddities showed up over a number of days.

During this time a hot dry ridge of high pressure was setting up over the PNW that has held until this writing on August 26.


June 16, 20115.

Over the following days everything in PDX dried out the air, trees, soil. There was a snapping sensation as all moisture was expelled. Like kiln dried or second crack (coffee roasting). I felt it. It smelled acrid, and much like a condensed odor of dry-rot. I live in a 100 year old wooden building that seemed to give up its last bit of moisture to the air. There was rapid expelling of moisture that had been lock in the wood for decades.

This intense and quick drying must have been regional in scope too. It’s no wonder the Pacific Northwest is burning in explosive wildfires.


August 2, 2015.

There is no way that I will accept ‘drought’ as a driver for this. This is the desertification of Cascadia.

“The US record fire season should not be viewed as an event in isolation. Nor should it be viewed as normal — new or otherwise. It’s an upshot of extraordinarily warm waters in the Northeastern Pacific shoving hot airs northward into regions that typically experience cool, wet weather. The climate of the Desert Southwest has been forced into Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana.” – robertscribbler.com

This is an ominous sign of extreme and ‘unprecedented’ climate change brought upon us by the unbridled burning of fossil fuels.

More to the point, we have an undeclared state of climate emergency confronting us. It is our children’s future.

Our atmosphere is nearing total, in human livability terms — collapse.

We must turn back from what we have created — we must.


Photos of cloud and atmospheric oddities preceding the latter half of June as a hot dry ridge established itself in the PNW and PDX.


June 16, 20115.


June 16, 2015.


June 16, 2015.


Cloud, and atmospheric oddities in the latter half of June as a hot dry ridge established itself in the PNW and PDX. In the foreground A very robust invasive weed grows in a street gutter, June 17, 20115. PHOTO: DT LANGE 2015 CC 4.0 BY-NC



June 17, 20115.


June 17, 20115.


Cloud, smoke, and atmospheric oddities in the latter half of June as a hot dry ridge established itself in the PNW and PDX. June 20, 20115. PHOTO: DT LANGE 2015 CC 4.0 BY-NC


Wildfire smoke over Portland, Oregon, August 13, 2015. PHOTO: DT LANGE 2015 CC 4.0 BY-NC


Wildfire smoke over Portland, Oregon, August 22, 2015. PHOTO: DT LANGE 2015 CC 4.0 BY-NC




Wildfire Smoke in the Sky Over Portland, Oregon.

The climate changed Northern Hemisphere has become a tinderbox of wildfire where everything in the high latitudes now burns.

Boreal forests, plants, birds, animals, tundra, permafrost, and the rest now easily incinerate.

Tons of ash and soot float in the atmosphere before falling to land resulting in a black coat of heat absorbing ashy soot.


Smoke from many wildfires in Siberia is seen from Portland, OR. in this photo looking west northwest and towards the setting sun April 17, 2015.


Here is the same view at sunset on August 13, 2015. Siberia still burns, as well as other parts of Russia. But there are also wildfires burning millions of acres of Alaska, Western Canada, and many parts of the Pacific Northwest including a rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Smoke and ash from the different fires can be seen in various levels of a somewhat still atmosphere.


For some background and perspective on the forces of these fires and smoke plumes, I turn to NASA’s Earth Observatory:
Color bar for High-Latitude Forest Fires Behave Differently in North America and Eurasia


acquired January 1, 2003 – December 31, 2013

In the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, much of the landscape is covered by boreal forest, or taiga. These regions are incredibly rich in organic matter (carbon), and they are also prone to intense fires that can send smoke thousands of miles downwind.

These evergreen forests make up one-third of Earth’s forested area, so their fires play an important role in regional and global climate patterns. That role is evolving as the world warms.

In new research published in Nature Geoscience on February 2, 2015, scientists described how fires burn differently in the northern tier of North America compared to the northern tier of Eurasia despite very similar conditions. Combining ten years of satellite data with computer models and ground-based observations, the researchers found that boreal forest fires in North America spread faster, burn hotter and longer, send smoke higher into the atmosphere, and kill more trees than fires in Eurasia. This satellite view aligns with previous ground-based observations that North American forests are more prone to crown fires—which burn from the floor to the tree tops—while Eurasia has more surface fires.

Link: NASA’s Earth Observatory