Saturday, September 4, 2010

Late Summer Sunset from Blanchard Mountain

A study revealed that Bellingham had the cleanest air, for a city, in the United States.

The reason? Well, the simple answer is location.

Location, location, location as realtors say.

We live between the two large metropolitan areas of Seattle and Vancouver and are part of the Georgia Basin and Puget Sound watersheds. A watershed that extends from Mt. Rainier in the south to just north of Vancouver.

An area of almost seven million people.

To the west is Vancouver Island and Victoria, to the southwest the Olympic Peninsula,  Hawaii and Australia.  Our prevailing winds come from the southwest.  And we benefit from that.

But as summer progresses and the seasonal dry hits, more particulate is in the air from forest fires and other summer/heat related events.  At times the air from east of the Cascades comes into the Salish Sea basin and forest fire activities, brush fires, wheat harvest all have an affect on the quality of air her in the Chuckanuts.  This can create spectacular sunsets.

A few years ago in late winter and early spring we experienced outrageous sunsets.  But the cause was more global - and highlighted what a small planet we inhabit.  Huge dust storms in China - the result of desertification when deep draw down of irrigation wells forced abandonment of millions of acres of once irrigated croplands - blew over the Pacific and into the Pacific Northwest.

The view from the Chuckanuts highlighted the issue.

©Paul Anderson

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