Local Scientist Cliff Mass Explains Why All of Seattle Smelled Like Poop Last Night

Surprise twist: THE STINK IS YOU.

In case you weren't around, the fog that swept into Seattle yesterday and lingered around this morning made the whole city smell like the inside of a fake leg/dead fish/a giant flaming bag of manure.

Not just one neighborhood mind you—but almost the entire city smelled/smells this way. Reddit has been freaking out this morning trying to get to the bottom of it. One prevailing theory seemed to be that the stank was the result of sulfur being released from the ground, which is allegedly a precursor to earthquakes. The science behind this theory is really shitty though, pun intended.

To get to the bottom of this, I first reached out to Johnny Burg, a meteorologist at the Seattle chapter of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"We don't know why it's happening either," Burg told me. "We've been trying to figure it out all morning. We read the reports too, but we're not getting the smell up here where we're at on Sand Point."

Discouraged, but not defeated, I reached out to local rockstar UW meteorologist Cliff Mass, who, luckily, had done some research already and had some insight:

"There was a strong, low level inversion above Seattle last night, with the cold fog layer below. The inversion acts as a lid to pollutants. Plus, the winds were weak so there was little mixing. That allows pollutants and smells to concentrate. The smells of the city... unmixed and concentrated... The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is not reporting any decline in air quality... I checked with them." (UPDATE: Mass informs me that after a doing bit more reasearch today, he's just posted a more in depth explanation on the poop-fog phenomenon to his blog, which you can read here.)

So there you have it folks. The fog acted as a giant toilet bowl lid on Seattle, closing the vents on our cesspool city and forcing us all to smell our own stank. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.

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