August 26, 2016

Smoke In West Coast and East Coast, But Generally Good Air Quality Across US

Due to the lasting wildfire in California (top left, MODIS Rapid Response, 18:40), Central California and part of Nevada is covered in moderately dense smoke (top right, Aerosol Optical Depth). In east coast, light smoke is seen all across the Mid-Atlantic Region due to minor fire events (bottom left, NOAA HMS). Despite the smoke events, air quality today in US is mostly good. Only Southern California experienced Orange Code (unhealthy for sensitive groups) in Ozone pollution (bottom right, AIRNow), which may be due to wildfire smoke.

August 25, 2016


Across the country today we see a relatively good and healthy day. Remnant smoke from the western states and southern Canada was carried east towards the Midatlantic and Northeastern states. However, ozone concentration was rather dense in the pacific southwest regions. As seen in the AirNow image below (top right), ozone concentrations ranged from moderate to unhealthy for certain groups. Data from AirNow Tech shows that ozone hit unhealthy levels in the San Bernardino and Riverside areas. Smoke and local wildfires, as seen in the AirNow image below (top right), is believed to have contributed to the increased levels of temperature and ozone. In the terra image below (bottom left), we can see the density of the smoke over this area and the HMS image shows the range of concentrations of smoke over the area (bottom right).

August 23, 2016

Large expanse of smoke covers northern U.S.

Fires in southern California and the Pacific Northwest have caused a stream of light smoke across the northern Rockies to the Great lakes (HMS, top left). This smoke has caused elevated PM 2.5 values and potentially elevated ozone (AirNow, top right).

Smoke was visible over California (NASA, mid-left), Idaho (mid-right), and South Dakota (bottom left).

Increased Aerosol Optical Depth is observed in California, the northern Rockies and Central Plains regions (VIIRS bottom right).

August 22, 2016

Idaho Fires Contunue to Spread Smoke

Smoke from fires in Idaho continue to affect air quality levels in the mid-west. The smoke coverage from these fires can be seen in HMS's smoke and fire map, top left. The Rocky Mountain States is experiencing most of the heavy density smoke(red) seen in the map, with medium density (yellow) and light density (green) smoke leading outwards. This is probably due to smoke accumulating above the fires and then dispersing outwards. Smoke is raising the PM 2.5 levels in the Rocky Mountain States, as seen in AirNow's AQI map, top right. The PM 2.5 levels reached Code Yellow (Moderate), Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups), and Code Red (Unhealthy) levels in multiple areas over the course of the day. Smoke over the Rocky Mountain States can be seen in MODIS Terra's satellite images, bottom left. The Pioneer Fire in Idaho, which was discussed two days ago, continues to burn. The fire has now covered 96,469 acres and continues to burn. The National Weather Service has released a Red Flag Warning in most of the middle to Southern parts of Idaho, meaning that weather conditions in these areas make fires more likely to spread.

Ozone levels continue to stay mostly low, with Code Yellow and Code Orange levels appearing mostly in California and parts of the Rocky Mountain States (AirNow, bottom right).

August 21, 2016

Fires continue in California and Pacific Northwest, exacerbating air quality

Ozone levels. These were generally good throughout the U.S. with the exception of Code-orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) and Code-yellow (moderate) across the West (see map, top left).

Aerosol concentrations. These remained relatively low (purple and blue) in most of the U.S. They were, however, moderate-to-unhealthy levels (green, yellow, and red) throughout California and the Rocky Mountain states likely due to wildfire smoke (see map, top right). Moderate levels were also seen along the Gulf Coast likely due to dust in the area (see map,bottom left). According to the NOAA HMS smoke text product, blowing dust/sand was observed in southeastern Arizona due to a thunderstorm.

Wildfires in central and south-central California have produced multiple light to heavy density smoke plumes. As a result, an expansive area of light density remnant smoke has spread throughout the state and into the US Southwest (see map, bottom right).
Various fires located in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are responsible for light density smoke seen across the Pacific Northwest moving southeastward.
An area of light density remnant smoke likely from Russian fires was seen moving southeast from the Gulf of Alaska, off the coast of British Columbia and Washington state.

August 20, 2016


The HMS smoke product (top left) shows several areas of light density smoke, that cover most of the Pacific Northwest and Southwest, Rocky Mountains and southern Plains States. Small regions of medium and heavy density smoke are seen in Idaho, Washington, Wyoming and California, where wildfires are still active. The worst of these is the Pioneer fire in Idaho, it has burned over 88,000 acres. Smoke from this fire is visible; it's shown in the top right (MODIS subset). According to the Idaho Statesmen, the fire's size was reduced by sparse vegetation and some rain, but the situation doesn't seem hopeful due to forecasted dry conditions for the rest of the weekend ( ). There's no doubt that all this smoke in the Northwest is affecting air quality. MODIS AOD shows elevated Aerosol loading in the areas affected by smoke (bottom left). In addition, a large area of code orange combined (PM and ozone) AQI is seen along California, with a few small areas of code red (bottom right).

August 19, 2016

Remnant Smoke from Western Wildfires Spread to Plains States

From the NOAA HMS Analysis Team, it is known that the western wildfires originating in California, Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming continue to burn and produce smoke. The HMS smoke and fire product (top left) displays a patch of smoke over the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains states, and plains states. The smoke becomes increasingly thicker around Montana, northern Wyoming, and western North Dakota.

The NASA MODIS AOD (top right) shows relatively low concentrations (purples and blues) of aerosols across the nation with higher levels (reds, yellows, and oranges) in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. There is also Code Yellow (moderate) and Code Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) levels of ozone seen in these same areas in the Daily Ozone AQI (bottom left). Both the aerosol and ozone levels are likely a product of the western wildfires.