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2023-03-09 at 13:10 - comment by TSellers

Yes, it can be difficult to judge which pollutants give the moon a 'harvest' color.

- SO2 absorbs some blue and violet wavelengths of light, which can make objects appear more yellow or orange in color. (The name 'Blue Moon' supposedly came into existence after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. The atmosphere was filled with dust particles which gave a bluish color to the Moon.)
- NO2 can absorb some blue and green wavelengths of light, which can make objects appear more red or brown in color.
- smoke particles can scatter and absorb blue and green wavelengths of light, leaving more of the longer red and orange wavelengths to reach the observer's eye.

But those are general seat of the pants guidelines. To complicate it further, it would seem both SO2 and fire smoke could make the moon appear the same. Wikipedia says this about a 'Blue Moon', "if volcanic eruptions or fires release particles in the atmosphere of just the right size to preferentially scatter red light."

Sources: ChatGPT and Wikipedia.

2023-03-08 at 20:22 - comment by DEMOCRATIZE AB

Howdy T,

Windy.com is showing an unusual amount of SO2 over western Canada and the northern hemisphere. For some reason a lot more is being released by industry judging by the windy.com air flow map. Hence the funny moon light color out on my ski trip.

The SO2 is not likely coming from forest fire burning. Industry is likely where the majority is coming from.

There is significant NO2 being produced by Calgary as of Wednesday evening which is pushing into the mountains. The NO2 is from burning of hydrocarbons, particularly in vehicles.
The particulate level is rated 1.3 times above WHO safe limits as per the air quality website

I find the particulate in Calgary really irritates my lungs skiing city trails. If I see a pollution cloud or smog over Calgary, I won't ski as I know it is smarter to keep the heart rate down during such events.

The pollution forecast calls for an improvement on Thursday March 9 as the winds shift from the east to south east which should make for a little better air quality skiing in the mountains. Where to ski?

2023-03-08 at 11:32 - comment by TSellers

A combination of upslope flow and inversions affecting the Redearth and Shadow Lake areas this week is most likely the culprit for the air quality that you experienced due to the burning that is ongoing at Protection Mountain. While sulfur-containing materials can produce SO2 when burned, it is not typically a major component of fire smoke.

2023-03-07 at 17:41 - comment by DEMOCRATIZE AB

After looking at Windy.com to investigate why the air was significantly polluted while skiing yesterday, Windy.com showed that the atmosphere over western Canada is covered in SO2 or sulphur dioxide which reduces sunlight back into space and cools the temperatures.

SO2 in our skies comes from three primary sources, Volcanoes, industrial pollution and geoengineering.

For an interesting Nature of Things program on geoengineering see:


SO2 certainly affects the quality of air we breathe into our skiing lungs particularly while chugging up hills. The air quality has certainly been decreasing in the last several years due to pollution and the future does not look good for for skiers lungs.

See windy.com punch in SO2 on the right menu to see what is going on with world pollution. Check it often as conditions change.


Report Submitted by DEMOCRATIZE AB
(trip) Date: Monday Mar 06, 2023

Submitted: Tuesday Mar 07, 2023 at 14:36


A champion to legalize your right to introduce and vote on government bills skiing on Madshus 205 cm Voss Skis


The Redearth Creek Trail is in excellent trackset skiing condition. It trail has been widened up nicely since my last trek skiing this trail, making for nice wide safe downhill skiing on the way back at night. The temperature at the warden cabin was -8C in the afternoon. Skiing speed was moderate to moderately fast. Swix green wax worked well but provided the best performance on sun exposed slopes.

The trail to Shadow Lake Lodge is also in excellent skiing condition with no rocks. I side stepped up the trail to get rid of much of the "snowmobile bob sled track" to make it more enjoyable to ski down.

Beyond Shadow Lake Lodge I noticed a big improvement in the firmness of the settled snow base. It actually supported me on my skis in most places. There still are a few spots that I broke through with above the knee ski penetration. The recent wind blown snow was rather dense which created a ok supportive base

I followed a fat ski trail across Shadow Lake. My ski poles got a lot of slush on them. The trail diverted off where I did not want to go so I broke easy trail and then skied off the Lake and up Haiduk Creek until I met the broken fat ski trail again which Skier Rob from Banff had skied as well. The trail meanders more than normal but it was a lazy joy to ski after all the trail breaking I have done this season.

The Haiduk Lake trail was broken by the fat skiers. Ski penetration was just above the ankles or so. I decided to hang out at Ball Pass Campground rather than going to Haiduk until it started to get a little dark. At dark thirty I made my way back. When I got down the meadows, a stunning low rider moon popped out from behind a mountain. The moon was diffused by smog and left a bit of a brownish yellow color on the landscape. Looking back towards Ball Pass was spectacular under the moon light. The echos were great up there as well.

The temperature at Shadow Lake Lodge was -13C with high humidity.

Total distance: 35.00 Km

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