February 11, 2023

Two More "Unidentified" Objects Shot Down: Where Did They Come From?

 Our military pilots have been busy this weekend, with two more shootdowns of objects floating into U.S. airspace from the west.

The first shootdown occurred near the northern Alaska coast late Friday night (0645 UTC 11 February), with the object (a smaller balloon) at around 40,000 ft (12000 m) above sea level.

As described in my previous blog, I ran the NOAA Hysplit trajectory model, to calculate the back trajectory over the past few days of air ending at 40,000 ft (12,000 m), as well as 8000 and 16,000 m (shown below).

Looking at these trajectories, one worries that this might be a Russian balloon!    

The trajectory ending at 40,000 ft started over western Russia, and the trajectory above it originated over Russia as well.  The lower trajectory could have passed over far northern China, but that would assume that the balloon was able to move up and down by command.  

Maybe there is a reason that our military is being relatively quiet about this one.

The object that ended over the Canadian Yukon (again around 40,000 ft) was shot down around 1 PM PST today.  Several of its trajectories originated over China and passed over Japan.

I know that many of you are worried about lowland and mountain snows on Monday and Tuesday, so let me give you the latest.    

The new model runs are consistent with a healthy snow dump over the Cascades, but only a dusting over portions of the western Washington lowlands.   

Below is the forecast total snowfall (snow depth is LESS) from the UW WRF model for the period ending 4 AM Tuesday, after which there will be little precipitation.

Up to a foot in the Cascades and a dusting over the eastern side of Puget Sound.   But several inches around Portland.

The larger view (again snowfall total ending 4 AM Tuesday) shows notable snow over the southern Willamette Valley.

I will update the forecast during my podcast tomorrow.  And don't forget the upcoming chilly temperatures....with below-freezing temperatures on Tuesday morning


  1. I have limited knowledge of that tool, but it might be important to note that the tracking is of air flow, not the actual object. So, if I understand correctly, the maps don't show the origination point, but the points where an object could 'start' anywhere along the tracking line.

    Perhaps the US Military has a better idea of where the 'object' started. But the maps only show possible starting points, and the path that the object took after it got to that altitude level - wherever it started from.

  2. Yes, anywhere along the line, but also anywhere _between_ the lines, so the first one tells us that given the altitude ranges a balloon would more likely come from Russia, but with less chance of China, yet not impossible! Meanwhile the second one puts it much more likely in China.

    Enough of these and the western intelligence community might start emphasizing certain areas that end up along the various ranges of paths and for example take more satellite images in suspected areas. While we don't know if the various objects have much control, we do know satellites can be controlled to take more images over certain areas.


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