Smoke from wildfires has been a common occurrence in southern Saskatchewan this summer. With fires across western Canada, the smoke has moved through, prompting a number of air quality advisories to be issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada.  

These advisories highlight the impact the smoke can have on a person’s health, but the presence of the smoke can also have an impact on the weather itself.  

Terri Lang is a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. She explained how it can impact things such as temperature. 

“It does tend to suppress daytime temperatures because it blocks the incoming shortwave radiation from the sun,” Lang stated. “So, it does tend to make our daytime highs cooler than they normally would be.” 

Lang then added the smoke doesn’t have as much of an impact when it comes to the overnight lows.  

“It doesn’t act like a cloud, so when the earth is reradiating long-wave radiation, it doesn’t act like a cloud and trap it.” 

Precipitation is also another thing that can be impacted by the smoke in the air.  

Southeast Saskatchewan is known not only for its thunderstorms, but frequency and ferocity. This year, the smoke has played a factor in that. Lang noted the smoke mitigates thunderstorm activity, however, at this time of year, it doesn’t make much difference as we are out of the peak storm season.  

The smoke is expected to continue to push into the southeast corner of the province thanks to the prevailing winds that are moving the smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. With another air quality advisory in effect, Lang recommended people should try to remain indoors when the Air Quality Health Index reaches seven, whether a person is part of an at-risk group or not.

-with files from

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