Population Health

December 2, 2020

Improving smoke forecasts by flying through wildfire smoke plumes

Researchers look at incoming data inside the research aircraftRecent years have seen hazy skies and hazardous air quality become regular features of the late summer weather on the West Coast.

New research led by the University of Washington looks at the most detailed observations to date from the interiors of West Coast wildfire smoke plumes and showed that smoke forecasts may incorrectly predict the amount of particles in staler smoke.

The new results could significantly change the estimate for particles in staler smoke, which could be the difference between “moderate” and “unhealthy” air quality in regions downwind of the fire.

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