“End of days” black sky in Siberia due to “perfect storm” of smoke and clouds

July 25th, 2018 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The UK tabloid newspaper The Sun is known for carrying National Enquirer-style sensationalist news, such as UFOs seen from the Space Station (usually window reflections).

A recent story entitled END OF DAYS Mystery as sky turns black in the middle of DAY in remote Russian towns with locals blaming secret weapons test, aliens or the DEVIL was meteorologically interesting as it described a region in northern Siberia that went almost dark for several hours last Friday, July 20, as seen in this Siberian Times photo:

Since we have several polar orbiting satellites that see everywhere on Earth a few times a day, it was natural to check out this event using NASA’s WorldView website. Here’s the VIIRS image from NASA’s Suomi/NPP satellite from around mid-day on July 20, 2018:

VIIRS image from NASA’s Suomi/NPP satellite on July 20, 2018, showing IR-identified wildfires (red dots) in central Siberia feeding smoke into a frontal cloud system that resulted in nearly nighttime conditions in the marked oval region in north-central Siberia.

Persistent wildfires, marked by the red dots, had been burning for days in central Siberia, which were producing smoke plumes travelling northeastward. A cool frontal system with clouds apparently entrained this smoke, and the combination made for extremely dark conditions on the ground. It is now known that wildfire smoke can enhance liquid cloud formation, and so a “perfect storm” of conditions resulted: (1) a natural cloud system, (2) enhanced cloud formation from smoke aerosols, and (3) the smoke layer itself (brown in the above color imagery).

This led to an almost opaque blanket that prevented sunlight from reaching the surface.

Whether UFOs or the devil were also involved, one can only speculate.

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