December 4, 2016


AirNow's PM AQI image (left) shows low AQI throughout most of the US, California being the only exception. There, particulate matter AQI reached conditions that were unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange) and unhealthy (red) in the northern and central regions of the state. This poor AQI is potentially linked to two wildfires and a prescribed burn in that area. The smoke from these fires can be seen on the NAAPS image (left). Of the two wildfires, one is completely contained, and the other is at 40% containment (inciweb).

December 1, 2016

Smoke over Oklahoma due to wildfires

There were mostly moderate amounts of PM seen today in the nation, with Code Yellow (Moderate) amounts of PM 2.5 seen on the west coast and the mid-east. Code Orange (Unsafe for Sensitive Groups) levels were also seen in Montana and southern California (AirNow, top left). Despite smoke being seen over Oklahoma in NOAA's smoke map, top right, air quality over the Plains States seems to be mostly unaffected. Satellite images were unable to capture images of the smoke due to heavy cloud coverage. Smoke over Oklahoma is coming from the Chimney Tops 2 Fire, located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (InciWeb). The wildfire has currently spanned 17,108 acres.

November 30, 2016

Mostly Clear Skies But With Elevated PM in Mississippi and Rocky Mountains Regions

Around the United States there was no areas with significant smoke observed on any of the satellites (Terra, top right). The NOAA Idea image additionally did not record any elevated amounts of PM and the levels were good (top left). However, the Chimney Tops 2 and Mount Pleasant Fires produced smoke which increased AQI levels (AirNow, bottom left). The elevated AQI levels were due to the PM levels, since there was no ozone observed on the AirNow animation (bottom right).

November 29, 2016

Scattered Moderate AQI; Gatlinburg Fire

There was scattered Moderate AQI today, mainly in the PNW and Northeastern regions (AirNow, top left). Increased sulfate concentrations in the NE is a potential cause for the poor AQI (NAAPS top right). Tennessee had a peak of PM 2.5 early in the morning, likely caused by remnant smoke from the Chimney Tops 2 Fire. Yesterday, drought conditions in combination with strong winds caused the fire to grow rapidly and subsequently impact Gatlinburg and other adjacent Great Smoky Mountain communities (InciWeb). Remnant smoke is shown in NASA satellite imagery and aerial photographs, bottom left and right respectively. Aerial photo compliments of CNN, link to more information as well.

November 28, 2016

South Appalachian fires and remnant smoke in North Carolina

Today we observed a very low amount of pm throughout the nation and along with the heavy cloud coverage, a lot of the wildfires in the South Appalachians could not be observed from satellites. Fires were tracked along the east coast and small fires on the west. A majority of the PM was concentrated on the east coast due to increased fires from the past few weeks. Remnant smoke was observed in moderate to heavy conditions over north carolina and down towards north Georgia.

November 26, 2016

Wildfires in Southeast cause elevated PM2.5

The HMS fire product shows several areas of light and medium density smoke in the Southeast and Mississippi Valley (top left). The largest of these is the Rough Rider fire in Georgia, its size is nearly 28,000 acres and is at 83% containment. The smoke from these fires is visible on NASA's Wold View (top right). These fires are likely the cause of the code red PM2.5 shown by AirNow PM AQI (bottom). PM2.5 levels were also high in reaching very unhealthy conditions at the northern California and Nevada border.

November 25, 2016

Elevated PM 2.5 in Pacific Southwest and Smoke in the Southeastern States

Today, there were levels of PM 2.5 that were hazardous (maroon) detected by Air Now (top, left). There were levels of particulate matter up to unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange) in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. The higher levels seen in Tennessee and North Carolina are likely due to some light smoke emanating from fires in the southern Appalachians and Louisiana. The smoke from Louisiana is light in density and can be seen in NOAA's HMS Smoke Product (top, right). The NOAA HYSPLIT trajectory over Baton Rouge (bottom) shows the winds blowing south, which would carry the smoke from the Louisiana fires out of the nation. As detected by the NOAA HMS Analysis Team, there were several fires burning in Southern Florida just south of Lake Okeechobee and in North Dakota. The smoke from these fires was not sensed due to heavy cloud cover obscuring the areas.