Other Stuff:


These are the steam plumes from the UAF power plant. In Winter the whole Fairbanks area (the Tanana River Valley) is often under a very strong temperature inversion, in which cold surface air is overlain by warmer air above (I have often noticed my car thermometer climb several degrees F in the minute or so it takes to drive up on to the West ridge). One thing that happens under an inversion is that the atmosphere becomes extremely stable; there is almost no vertical motion of air. Smoke from a house chimney will spread out in a layer only a few meters above the ground. More powerful plumes like these may rise a couple hundred meters, but they too eventually lose their buoyancy and just fan out in a layer, as seen above. This is a problem for Fairbanks' air quality in Winter, which is why most cars here must have an emissions test every two years.


Forest fires like these ones, burning south and southwest of Fairbanks in June 2001, are just part of Summer in interior Alaska. Being downwind of them can be miserable. In Alaska fires like these are only fought if they threaten human habitation; which means of course, that the places where people live are slowly becoming fire traps.


This pinkish color in the sky is called 'alpenglow' and is common in winter when the Sun is low; it appears in the direction opposite the Sun and is caused by the fact that the atmosphere scatters blue light alot better than red light, which is also why the sky is usually blue.
 

((If I ever get a picture of a "Green Flash" it will go here!))