July 3, 2015

Smoke Over Dakotas Impedes Visibility

Yesterday's features largely carry over to today, as shown in the GASP
AOD loop below left and MODIS Terra RGB image below right; a river of
smoke from the fires in Canada drifting down across the Dakotas before
turning towards Wisconsin and across the Great Lakes.

This smoke seems to have worked its way down to the surface in the
Dakotas and northern Montana, as seen in the EPA AQI loop below at top
left and AirnowTech time series below, top right, as well as the NPS
webcam image from Theodore Roosevelt National Park shown bottom left.
Bottom right is images from the same webcam under clear and hazy
conditions for comparison.

July 2, 2015


The Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and parts of the Mississippi Valley region experienced moderate AQI levels all day (top left, EPA AirNow combined AQI loop). California also had moderate AQI levels. HMS smoke text notes that smoke from wildfires in central Oregon are probably seeping into parts of Northern California and Idaho. Montana and North Dakota reached unhealthy AQI levels today which corresponds to the large aerosol loading shown in the IDEA GASP model (bottom left). These high aerosol amounts seem to be the result of the continuing distribution of dense smoke across the U.S. from Alaskan and Canadian wildfires. This smoke can be seen travelling southeast into the U.S. from the border of Canada (top right, NOAA HMS).

The NRL Aerosol Modeling revealed large amounts of Saharan dust extending over the Gulf of Mexico and reaching southern portions of Texas and Louisiana (bottom right). This model also displays the smoke in the same areas predicted by the IDEA and HMS figures.

July 1, 2015

Smoke and Dust Layers Aloft; Widespread Moderate PM2.5 AQIs

Smoke from Alaskan wildfires was reported again today stretching across Canada from the Hudson Bay through northern British Columbia and into central United States. In addition, remnants of Saharan dust transported from the East Atlantic were observed in the Gulf of Mexico (top left, courtesy HMS analysis team). In terms of air quality, elevated, Code Orange, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups PM2.5 AQIs were observed in Canada and northwest North Dakota where smoke layers aloft were reported (top right). Elsewhere, widespread Code Yellow, Moderate PM2.5 levels were reported over the majority of the eastern United States. Surface ozone levels were less severe today, only in the Code Yellow and Orange zone in the valleys of central California, and parts of the Northeast states (bottom left).

June 29, 2015

Heavy Stream of Smoke Funneling through the Midwest from Canadian Wildfire Outbreaks

The EPA AirNow combined AQI loop (top left) shows the northern Rocky Mountain and Plains States experiencing a large amount of moderate to unhealthy AQI levels. You can see in the MODIS Terra imagery (top right) the heavy aerosol load cutting down from central Canada through the Midwestern United States, reaching as far south as Texas. This increased AOD is the heavy wildfire smoke (noted over the weekend) from outbreaks in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and Alberta starting as far back as May. There are currently over 168 uncontrolled and 273 controlled fires in the country (http://www.ciffc.ca), producing harmful concentrations of smoke in the region. The outbreaks seem to be the result of a combination of high temperatures, dry climate, and strong winds. A current of strong winds, starting yesterday and traveling through the Midwest (NOAA Surface Analysis, bottom left), has carried the heavy amount of smoke from these wildfires into the United States. The end result is a thick funnel of smoke that can be seen in today's satellite imagery (NASA Earth Observatory, bottom right).

June 28, 2015

Weekend Edition: Heavy Smoke in Central Canada and United States

Moderate to heavy smoke produced from Canadian and Alaskan wildfires was observed over Canada with a heavy band of smoke a moving south through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas (top left image, NOAA HMS smoke product). A prolific amount of wildfires were seen in the southern portions of the Northwest Territories, northern Alberta, and Saskatchewan, acoording to NOAA's Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product. These wildfires produced optically thick area of smoke over northern/central Saskatchewan that was moving to the southeast (red areas in AOD image from MODIS sensor in NASA Aqua satellite).AOD values associated with this smoke ranges from 0.2-1.

Lidar measurements at the University of Wisconsin, Madison show the smoke plume extending from 3 to 12 km.

June 26, 2015

Fires in Alaska and California; Dust in East

The HMS fire and smoke product below left shows a large plume of smoke starting over the fires in Alaska, joining up with plumes from fires in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and extending to cover Hudson Bay and parts of Iowa, as well as another area in California, Oregon, and Nevada from the Lake and Washington fires in California and the Mount Emma fire in Arizona. The EPA combined AQI loop, below right, shows effects from this patch of smoke on air quality in California, as well as more possible contributions west of the Dakotas and from Illinois into Iowa. The area of Moderate AQI over the Southeast may be due to Saharan dust working its way up the East Coast.

The NPS webcam images from Joshua Tree (left) and Grand Canyon (right) National Parks below show the impact on visibility from the smoke in those areas. Shown below them are images taken under clear and hazy conditions for comparison.

June 24, 2015

Smoke in Alaska, Central Canada and Northern and Southwest U.S.

Light to moderately dense smoke left an immense footprint today from a large outbreak of wildfires in central Alaska.The smoke was observed across central Canada stretching east towards Lake Superior. Fires in southern California also contributed to smoke aloft, stretching east into Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. Finally the HMS analysis team reported remnants of Saharan Dust lingering from the Mid-Atlantic to the Southeast United States (top left). Despite the smoke and dust layers aloft, today's EPA Air Quality Indices (AQI) did not observe elevated particulates at the surface in all the aforementioned affected regions (top right). Only elevated, Code Yellow, Moderate AQI were observed in the Southeast and only small patches in southern California (top right). Surface ozone concentrations were much worse today in southern California, peaking in Code Red, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (bottom right).