How Canadian wildfires and Storm Agnes created 'white sun' phenomenon

Viewers sent ITV News Anglia pictures of the "white sun" on Thursday morning. Credit: Eric Smith

The unique combination of wildfire smoke drifting from Canada, and clouds in the wake of Storm Agnes led to unusual sunrises across the UK on Thursday.

Many waking could have been forgiven for mistaking the sun for the moon, as they were greeted by the sight of a white sun against a grey sky.

The reason: a combination of Canadian wildfire smoke and dense upper and medium level cloud in the wake of Storm Agnes clearing.

Wildfires has been burning across the North American continent through much of the summer, which has been among the worst wildfires seasons the area has experienced.

Earlier in the year, eerie images of New York shrouded in orange coloured wildfire smoke hit headlines around the world.

How has the wildfire smoke crossed such huge distances?

The jet stream has been in a similar position through most of the week which has allowed a constant feed of smoke to travel from Canada to the UK.

Greg Dewhurst from the Met Office explained the speeds at the heart of the powerful weather system.

"There is a very active jet stream this week with a core of 140mph, which has transported the wildfires smoke."

How long will it last?

The wildfire season should be coming to an end soon but as long as the fires continue to burn it is possible we will see more unusual looking skies.

At this time of year, the jet stream generally becomes more active due to the polar regions becoming colder.

The contrast between the warm air to the south and the cold air to the north means the jet stream becomes more powerful.

Will the smoke affect air quality?

It's not unusual for events like this to decrease the quality of the air.

However, currently the wildfire smoke is suspended in the atmosphere and while it may continue to provide unusual sunrises, it is not forecast to affect air quality.

Air quality forecast Credit: Credit: ITV Weather
Sunrise in Walpole, Halesworth Credit: Credit: Tracey Collett
Sunrise in Norwich Credit: Credit: David Whiteley
Sunrise in Cambridge Credit: Credit: Alison Ratty

For the latest Anglia weather forecast click here.

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