Taking a nice walk in Seattle's Magnuson park tonight, I saw and heard a lot of geese in the air, and, of course, I thought about bird migration. So I wanted to check the Doppler weather radar when I got home to see which way the birds were moving aloft.
The (9:08 PM) Doppler weather radar from Langley Hill on the the WA coast was fairly dramatic, showing strong southward motion for our feathered friends. How can I tell? The colors tell the speed of the air towards (green or blue) or away (yellow or red) from the radar. The couplet of green to the NW and red to the SE tell us that the birds of flying south/southeast. The don't like flying offshore.
Compare this to the pattern in May....just the opposite, birds flying north.
Then I started to muse about smoke and birds, and took a look at the Doppler velocity imagery during the period of greatest smoke (roughly August 21-22) at 9:09 PM--and I was surprised what I saw (see below). It appears that the radar was picking up the smoke offshore (all the gray colors, little velocity), in contrast to the birds over land, who were heading to the south.
A few days later when the smoke was much less (August 25th), the offshore radar returns were gone.
The birds kept flying to the smoky periods, perhaps they were high enough to be above the worst of it. I did notice less birds singing in my backyard during the worst of the smoke.
Finally, today I learned about another impact of the wildfire smoke---regional stores were stripped of the better quality furnace filters. Absolutely none in the local Fred Meyer store. This may be a big business opportunity for someone-- imagine starting an Air Quality Store. Imagine-- a wide selection of filter masks,,home air quality filtration systems, particle sensors, and yes, even furnace filters. Could even run tours to places with clean air.