October 27, 2016

Wildfire smoke over California, low Ozone again

Ozone levels were very low again today. Only Code Yellow (Moderate) levels of ozone were seen over parts of the Plains States and the Mississippi Valley for a very short amount of time (NOAA, top left). PM 2.5 levels also remained around the Code Yellow area, but was much more widespread. Code Yellow levels were mostly seen over the Rocky Mountain States, Pacific Northwest, Plains States, Great Lakes Region, Mississippi Valley, and parts of California (AirNow, top right). The PM 2.5 in California was mostly due to a wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest called the Jacobson Fire. The fire started October 20th for unknown reasons and currently spans 1,595 acres (InciWeb). A reading of the smoke can be seen in the HMS smoke map of California, bottom left. A satellite image of the smoke could not be obtained due to a large amount of cloud coverage of California.

October 26, 2016

Agricultural Fires Across the Nation

The vast majority of the Nation enjoyed good air quality today in spite of a large number of Agricultural and prescribed fires. These fires, though large in numbers, only generated small plumes of thin density smoke which were not easily detected by satellite imagery (NOAA HMS image, left). The smoke, however, was enough to cause moderate (code yellow) air quality in the local areas where most of the fires were concentrated such as the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast, and the Pacific Northwest and Canada (AirNow Average PM image, right). Over Baltimore we briefly saw an unusual thin density plume, however, extensive cloud coverage over most of the US, including Baltimore, hampered the collection of data making it impossible to tell what the plume was or where it had originated.

October 25, 2016

yesterday's conditions persist

Moderate levels of ozone were reported in the lower Mississippi Valley region (AirNow, top left). AirNow registered the most concentrated moderate levels of PM 2.5 AQI in this region, as well as in California and some of the PNW (top right). HMS reports smoke activity in the MS Valley and the Northwestern U.S; satellite imagery was limited due to cloud coverage (mid left). This and increased sulfate concentrations (NAAPS, mid right) could be contributing to the elevated PM 2.5 values observed.

Glacial four (fine particles produced by the mechanical grinding of bedrock from glacial erosion) still remains aloft over the Gulf of Alaska. NASA MODIS imagery shows heavy aerosol loading that appears to be spreading from the Copper River Valley, west of Anchorage, which is directly south of a cluster of glaciers (bottom).

October 24, 2016

Scattered Moderate PM 2.5 Levels Throughout United States; Glacial Flour Observed Offshore

Surface ozone level were particularly low today throughout the United States (top left). However, scattered regions of Code Yellow, Moderate PM 2.5 AQIs, were reported throughout the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast states (top right). The NAAPs aerosol model illustrates slightly elevated surface sulfate levels forecast throughout these regions, perhaps contributing to air quality conditions (bottom left). According the HMS analysis team, no significant areas of smoke were observed today. However, an interesting feature of 'glacial flour', in which glacial flour is lofted into the atmosphere, was observed in early morning satellite imagery across the Gulf of Alaska (although hard for the untrained eye to depict difference from cloud deck) (bottom right).

October 21, 2016

Light PM Pollution in West Coast; No Significant Air Pollution Today

PM concentration is low most of the day (left), but higher concentration, mostly Code Yellow (moderate), was observed in West Coast. Especially California, where majority of the pollution was observed later afternoon. According to CALI FIRE and InciWeb, several wildfire incidents continued, releasing PM into atmosphere. On the other hand, Ozone was very low today (right), with only Southern California experiencing Code Orange (Unhealthy for sensitive groups) pollution.

October 20, 2016

California wildfire continues to spread smoke

Ozone levels were very low today, with Code Yellow (Moderate) levels appearing in only California and parts of the Mid-Atlantic (NOAA, top left). PM 2.5 levels were more widespread, with Code Orange (Unsafe for Sensitive Groups) levels appearing in California near the Gap Fire, discussed in yesterday's post. Code Yellow levels also appeared in the Pacific Southwest, the Mississippi Valley, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southeast, the Great Lakes Region, and the Rocky Mountain States (AirNow, top right). Remnant smoke from the Gap Fire can still be seen in NASA's MODIS Terra satellite images, bottom left. The fire's origin is unknown, but as of now, the fire has covered over 33,867 acres of land (InciWeb).

October 19, 2016

Low Ozone Levels Across the US; Heavy Smoke in California

Today saw very low levels of ozone across the United States, which is indicated by the AirNow animation (top left). Although PM 2.5 levels were good overall, there was code orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) recorded in parts of Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, California. (AirNow, top right). Heavy smoke was seen in the Klamath Forest in California, which originated from the Gap Fire (NOAA, bottom left). The smoke was visible through satellite imagery and the fire is now completely contained (bottom right).