colorful sunsets and pollution

I have heard from a few people that when the sunsets are especially colorful with pink and purple skies… that it is actually caused by pollution. i think that sounds absurd…

Yes, particulates in the sky diffuse the light, just like raindrops can create rainbows. Fire season in the west is a terrible time, but the sunsets are amazing.

I was in Hawaii in 1991, while Mt. Pinatubo was erupting in the Philippines. Due to the slightly elevated ash content in the air, the sunset were spectacular. Even the locals were impressed.

I’m told that the eruption of Krakitoa (spelling?) spewed particulates into the atmosphere that caused gorgeous sunsets for years and years and years.

I’ll bet some geological Dopers will have something to say about this.

Junot Diaz has a short story where he comments on the greatest sunsets in the world occurring in New Jersey. He attributes this to the pollution.

so… is it true that the reason that they are colorful is because of the pollutants?

From what I understand, and I could be wrong, the most vibrant sunsets are caused by pollutants. However, it’s not like they wouldn’t be pretty otherwise.


They’d still be colorful without pollutants, maybe not just as colorful.

Wiki on Sunsets

Edvard Munch’s The Scream; possibly depicting a Krakatoa sunset

I was there, too!! What island were you on?

And yes - the sunsets were awesome.