Many Californians awoke to a bright orange sky on Wednesday morning. The worst-affected areas were San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland, per CNN reports
The looming and heavy skies are due to wildfires that have been raging throughout the year in California, which have led smoke to rise up into the atmosphere, murking out the area's air quality.
Sunlight couldn't even break through the heavy orange hues, and with winds blowing the smoke further afield, it doesn't look to be lifting soon.
National weather service problems
"We just have so much smoke over us right now," said a post on Twitter from the Bay Area’s National Weather Service. "This is beyond the scope of our models so we rely on your reports!... The models do not seem to be keeping up with the thick layer of smoke as far as temperature forecast data, visibility."
As the winds weaken aloft, gravity will take over as the primary vertical transport of the smoke.— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) September 9, 2020
Suspended smoke will descend closer to the surface and could lead to darker skies and worsening air quality today. This is beyond the scope of our models so we rely on your reports!
Furthermore, the weather service mentioned that as winds slow down, gravity will pull the smoke down — which will make the smog worse.
These smoke particles scatter blue light & only allow yellow-orange-red light to reach the surface, causing skies to look orange. If smoke becomes too thick in a certain area, most of the light will be scattered & absorbed before reaching the surface, which may cause dark skies.— Bay Area Air Quality (@AirDistrict) September 9, 2020
The smoke is currently so thick that weather forecasts in the area are unreliable as readings can't be read accurately. Meteorologists mentioned to the Verge that they are depending on locals will post their weather reports on social media so that they can adjust their official reports.
Shocking footage shows "apocalyptic" red and orange skies in California and Oregon — as thousands of unprecedented and relentless wildfires rage across the west coast of the U.S. https://t.co/8UhRY5p9ml pic.twitter.com/CP1Smv6fCP— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 9, 2020
The long smoke plumes that come from the wildfires have so far lasted 25 days and have become the longest stretch of smoke ever to be recorded in California, a Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokeswoman told CNN.
Social media has been exploding with images of Mars-like backdrops, and given how eerie the entire area looks, it's understandable why.
Some believe climate change has a big role in the matter as higher temperatures lead to drought, lead to dry foliage, and thus fires break out more easily, and with winds transporting smoke and fire more easily, it's easy to see how an event like this would happen.