Watch Smoke From Camp Fire Disperse Over U.S.
Watch Smoke From Camp Fire Disperse Over US

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Bay Area residents experiencing some of the worst air quality in the world due to particulate matter from the Camp Fire have found themselves inordinately interested in the concept of smoke: what’s in it, what it does, and, especially, where it’s going to be. To that last point, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses a supercomputer to predict smoke dispersal over the U.S. It’s called the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh-Smoke model, and it’s run out of NOAA’s Global Systems Division in Boulder, Colorado. The forecasts takes into account weather data gleaned from radar, airplanes and other sources to predict dispersion patterns over the next 36 hours. New forecasts are issued every six hours. The model is still designated experimental, but is due to go operational in 2020, and it’s currently used by the National Weather Service to share information about air quality and visibility, the Global Systems Division says.