May 4, 2016

Canadian Fires Cover the Northern Plains and Central Canada in Smoke

Wildfires in western and central Canada furiously burn near Ft. McMurray. These fires are creating an incredible amount of dense smoke which is drifting east and southeast into the northern plains of the United States (HMS image, left). The smoke is covering a large portion of central Canada, all of North Dakota, most of South Dakota, eastern Montana, and large portions of Minnesota down to Missouri. Many other fires can be seen throughout the central and southern plains, however, these fires are not creating very large or dense quantities of smoke. They are likely controlled seasonal fires. Central America continues to have prescribed agricultural fires which are the cause of the large plume of medium to heavy density smoke covering from southern Mexico down to northern Nicaragua. Back in North America, poor air quality caused by the smoke from the Canadian fires has not yet been traced by the system. However, elevated ozone levels cover the pacific Northwest causing moderate, code yellow, air quality in the region (AQI image, right).

May 2, 2016

Air quality generally good today; Moderately dense smoke layer in Gulf

Air quality conditions were generally good today across the United States, with a few scattered pockets of Code Yellow Moderate conditions (top left). The worst AQIs were briefly recorded in the Pacific Southwest, peaking in the Unhealthy range for PM2.5 near the southern Arizona and New Mexico border (top right). Elsewhere, a moderately dense smoke layer aloft was observed traveling north across the Gulf of Mexico (bottom left) and today's MODIS overpass shows slightly elevated aerosol optical depth (AOD) in that region (bottom right). The smoke is believed to be remnant from agriculture fires in the Mexico and Central America.

May 1, 2016

Smoke in Minnesota/North Dakota and Gulf of Mexico

Multiple agricultural/prescribed burns were observed throughout Minnesota and North Dakota according to NOAA Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product. The top left image indicates the location of light density smoke captured in the satellite retrievals today. The top right MODIS rgb image shows several locations were the smoke was observed.

Smoke associated with the seasonal burning over Mexico and Central America was observed over the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom left image is today's MODIS rgb image showing smoke n between cloud cover. The AOD associated with this smoke ranged between 0.2-0.6 (bottom right image).

April 28, 2016

Good air quality levels were experienced in most of the nation except in the southern states where moderate levels were reported (top left). According to HMS, remnant smoke from fires over the last few days in the Southeast US and in Mexico, Central America, and Cuba was seen this morning along and off the coast of the Carolinas and just east of southeastern Virginia. Moreover, an expansive area of thin to moderately dense residual smoke from continued seasonal burning in portions of Mexico and Central America was visible from the Bay of Campeche northward across the western and central Gulf of Mexico into the Lower Mississippi River Valley and along the Texas coastline. This area of remnant smoke can be seen as far north as southern Mississippi and as extends east off the coast of the Florida Panhandle. Some cloud cover obscures the full extent of this smoke across the Gulf Coast (top left). High AOD levels were retrieved also over New Mexico and Texas likely due to the smoke aloft (bottom left). NRL Monterrey Aerosol Modeling also indicated smoke over the regions aforementioned as well as high Sulfate in the northern states (bottom left).

April 27, 2016

Smoke and Dust Affect The South and The East of The Nation

The HMS image on the top left shows a massive plume of light to medium density smoke covering from Central America to the Southern Plains of the United States. This smoke is being caused by ongoing seasonal/prescribed agricultural burns in Central America and Mexico. The smoke is covering the Coast of Mexico, a large part of Texas, and the Western Mississippi Valley. The mixture of this smoke and dust from Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas raised the AOD levels in the region, as seen in the GASP animation on the top right. High concentrations of PM2.5 particles cause the highly elevated AOD levels, which can be briefly seen in the southwestern section of the animation. The GASP animation in the bottom left is a zoom in of the affected area. A bright red and yellow area is seen over the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coast of Texas. Extensive cloud coverage, as seen, prevented the systems from gathering more detailed readings.
These elevated AOD levels caused fairly poor air quality in southeastern Texas, ranging from moderate to unhealthy levels, code yellow to code orange (AQI animation, bottom right). Sporadic areas of moderate air quality covered the Mid-Atlantic, Northern Mississippi Valley, and the Great Lakes regions. These were due to remnant smoke from wildfires in the Shenandoah valley, along with smoke that traveled north from the Gulf of Mexico. The Pacific Southwest saw large areas of moderate air quality with certain very unhealthy, and hazardous sections in California. The combination of blowing dust (PM10 and PM2.5) and elevated ozone levels were the main cause.

April 26, 2016

Dust in the West; Smoke in the Southern Central and Eastern U.S.

There is widespread Moderate AQI ranging from the Mid-Atlantic to southern California (AirNow, top left). In Texas, Oklahoma, and the Gulf of Mexico, the HMS smoke product shows a blanket of light to moderate density smoke emanating from ongoing seasonal burns in Mexico (top right). This image also shows multiple smaller plumes in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic resulting from various wildfires and seasonal burns. The VIIRS aerosol optical depth profile shows widespread light to heavy aerosol loading in the eastern U.S. (bottom left). The same analysis for the west coast shows a large swath of dust being lifted and blown out from the desert regions (bottom right).

April 25, 2016

Hazardous Air Quality and Blowing dust across Pacific Southwest

Scattered Code Yellow Air Quality Indices (AQIs) were reported today throughout the Great Lakes and Southeast states (top left). The worst AQIs were measured in the Pacific Southwest, particularly across southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas peaking in the Hazardous range by early afternoon (top right). These unusually high AQIs are most likely caused by the blowing dust across the region, in response to very high winds associated with a passing frontal boundary. In terms of smoke layers aloft, the HMS analysis team reports an area of light density remnant smoke across the Mid- Mississippi Valley and a large swath over the Gulf of Mexico, from seasonal agricultural burning in Mexico/ Central America (bottom left). Finally, today's MODIS overpass shows elevated aerosol optical depth (AOD) near the Gulf smoke layer (bottom right).