How is visibility measured in meteorology? Is it based on particles in the air or on actual visible distance measurements? During recent days when smoke from the wildfires was in our area, I saw several mentions of visibility in different cities.Posted — Updated
As it relates to your question then, the current method of obtaining visibilities for most locations is based on the "particle measurement" principle, while in the past (and in a supplementary role at a few present locations, mainly military bases) it was based more on the "actual visual distance" as estimated using a pair of eyeballs.
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