August 15, 2017

High Concentrations of PM in the Pacific Northwest

Today was quite a clear day throughout the nation. Thin density smoke was seen over much of the Plain States region and the Great Lakes region from fires in British Columbia. Fires in Idaho and Montana produced a thin density smoke that stretches east into the Northern Plain States. At the origin of the fires, smoke is most dense and reached unhealthy levels of PM in the area. Fires in Washington and British Columbia produced smoke that is most dense over the fires and producing heavy concentrations of fire (HMS, top left). In the EOSDIS image below (top right), we see heavy concentrations of AOD in Canada and reaching down into the Northern Plain States and west into the Pacific Ocean but because of heavy cloud coverage, satellite imaging was unable to record all concentrations in respect to their geographical locations. AOD trajectories provided by VIIRS CONUS (bottom) shows that heavy concentrations of AOD from Alberta will circulate south into the States and particularly the Plain States and the Great Lakes region.

August 14, 2017

Thin Density Smoke and Saharan Dust

Today was a good day in Air Quality News! We observed very little ozone throughout the day but we did see patches of PM throughout the nation today (AirNow, top left). Fires from Montana, Idaho and Oregon have contributed to a large quantity of smoke from the last few weeks. It is now dissipated and a thin density of smoke is observed in the area. In conjunction with the fires in Canada, thin density smoke stretches over the Northern Plain States and the Great Lakes region of the nation providing to the reported elevated PM in the area (HMS, top right). In the Copernicus image below, we see Saharan Dust moving through the Gulf of Mexico and much of the Southern States including Texas and Florida (bottom). It is believed that the Saharan Dust had contributed to the elevated PM in the area for today.

August 13, 2017

Intense Smoke From Canada Moves Into US

An extremely large area of heavy smoke in Canada was observed on Saturday and Sunday (HMS, top left). The smoke spans practically the entire country and extends into the United States, with heavy smoke in Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska. In addition, light, remnant smoke is seen throughout the Rocky Mountains and Plain States. This smoke is clearly visible in the NASA WorldView image in the top right. This smoke is also having a clear effect on AQI, shown by the AirNow particulate matter AQI image shown on the bottom. Montana, one of the main states affected by the Canadian smoke, reached very unhealthy levels due to this concentrated smoke.

August 10, 2017

Smoke continues to spead across Northwest

Air quality today was not good, mostly because of the ongoing wildfires in the Northwest. PM 2.5 levels mostly stayed in the Moderate (Code Yellow ) levels across the nation, but in the Northwest, PM 2.5 levels rose to Code Orange (Unsafe for Sensitive Groups) and Code Red (Unsafe) levels, as seen in AirNow, PM 2.5 map, top right. The smoke coverage was shown in NOAA's HMS map, top right, which shows that the smoke from the wildfires most likely heavily contributed to the heavy PM 2.5 seen in the Northwest. Images of the smoke were captured by NASA's MODIS Terra satellite, which can be seen in the bottom right.

August 8, 2017

Smoke from British Columbia in the US

Today was a bad day in Air Quality news with heightened levels of Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) across the nation as a whole and into the Pacific Ocean as seen in the HMS image below (top left). Fires along the border of Idaho and Montana have been producing a heavy concentration of smoke that has been mostly dense to its respective area. However, in conjunction with the fires in British Columbia, AOD had reached dangerous levels and unhealthy for sensitive groups in the upper Pacific Northwest region of the United states (EOSDIS, top right). As temperatures stayed high (NOAA climate chart, middle left) and smoke was in such high concentrations along the Pacific Northwest area, it is believed that they were factors to the elevated levels of ozone. In the Terra satellite imaging below (middle right) we observe the dense amounts of smoke from north of the US Canadian border travelling southeast and west in the States and out into the Pacific Ocean. In the National Park Service webcam footage for Olympic National Park in Washington, we see a comparison of what a good day in Air Quality news should like and what it would look like on a bad day (bottom left). As fires grow and smoke becomes more dense in the area of British Columbia and Washington, we can see the effect this has had on us in Pacific Northwest as smoke becomes more dense in Olympic National Park (bottom right).

August 7, 2017

British Columbia Fires and Heavy Smoke

Today we observed heavy density smoke and PM along the Idaho and Montana border due to fires. Fires from the British Columbia region in conjunction with smoke from the Idaho-Montana smoke has produced smoke ranging from low concentration to dangerous density of smoke. This smoke stretches from the Pacific Northwest and through the Rocky Mountain States and the Plain States to the Northeast region of the country (HMS, top left). In the Terra image below (top right) we see concentrations of smoke that maybe unhealthy for sensitive groups over much of Northern Washington. Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) trajectories (VIIRS CONUS, bottom left) shows the heavy concentrations of both PM and Ozone moving east towards the Mid-Atlantic region and much of New England over the course of the next 2 days. Smoke in the further corner of the Pacific Northwest region will soon find itself in the Pacific Ocean. Wind speed stayed low on the west coast as temperatures reached the upper 90°F (NOAA Climate chart, bottom right). It is believed that the smoke, low winds and high temperatures may have all contributed to the elevated levels of Ozone along the west coast.

August 3, 2017

Smoke continues to increase in northwest

Air quality today was very bad, specifically in the northwestern part of the nation. PM 2.5 levels reached up to Code Purple(Very Unhealthy) levels in Montana, Washington, and Oregon (AirNow, top left). There was also a good amount of Code Red and Orange (Unhealthy and Unsafe for Sensitive Groups, respectively) in these areas. The elevated PM 2.5 was definitely caused by smoke from wildfires in this area. The smoke came from wildfires in Montana and Washington, with Montana having more than ten active wildfires and Oregon having about two. The smoke coverage in this area can be clearly seen in NOAA's HMS map, top right. The biggest wildfire in Montana right now is the Lolo Peak fire, which currently spans over 17,000 acres and counting (InciWeb). The smoke in the northwest was captured in NASA's MODIS Terra images, bottom left. Ozone levels, however, were very low today, with barely any Code Yellow (Moderate) levels of ozone showing up in some parts of the nation.