Sunday, January 20, 2013

Flat white and very still, murky air

I noticed as I walked home after work, the sir was a little stinky. As I came around a corner onto Alyeska Highway, I saw this layer of haze down over the main part of town, shown above. Normally that would be fog rising from the creek with cold air falling from the valley above up stream. However, today there was a dirty color to the fog, looking more like smog, and this is not Fairbanks! There are not that many wood burning fireplaces here. I thought at first it could be an inversion layer, but it is not warmer at the tops of the mountains than below. That is what a standard inversion is the result of, warmer air aloft trapping the cold air below which keeps the particles from rising and dispersing in the atmosphere. It must today be a phenomenon of the incredibly still air with clouds above not moving allowing the soot to be trapped below, where we can see and smell it! There is a low pressure system directly over Prince William Sound. The isobars are far apart over us confirming my observation of lack of air movement. There is another low coming from the southwest, maybe it will move this boring system away soon.

What a murky day it turned out to be in Girdwood. That winter storm that was supposed to be dumping snow all night never materialized here. At about 9am there was wet snow showers with more substantial snow holding together on the mountain. It precipitated off and on until late afternoon, mostly a wet variety. It was, after all, 34° in most of Glacier Valley. I understand from the skiers that the snow was sticky. That was the case in Moose Meadows last night as well for cross-country skiing. 

This was the view of Max’s Mountain today. After the sloppy snow stopped falling, the conditions where flat white light. Not super wonderful, but not wet either!

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