February 21, 2017

Fires, Light Smoke, Aerosols, and Dust

A large number of fires were observed all through the midwest of the nation. These fires burned from southern Texas all the way to mid Iowa, however, very little smoke was detected (HMS image, top left). Only a few short plumes of light density smoke were seen scattered through the affected area. In the image on the top left (AirNow PM image) we see that east of the trail of fires is a large area of moderate, code yellow, air quality. This poor air quality was likely caused by the fires.
Aerosols over parts of Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico are believed to be partially from the fire activity in Texas over the fast few days. Dust is also affecting parts of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona as seen in the VIIRS image on the bottom left. The dust seems to have originated from loose soil in the affected areas, as well as potentially from Northern Mexico.

February 18, 2017

Moderate PM 2.5 seen across eastern shore

There were a lot of Code Yellow (Moderate) levels of PM 2.5 seen in the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast, the Great Lakes Region, the Mid-Atlantic the southern Plains States, and the Northeast (AirNow, top left). These elevated levels of PM 2.5 were most likely due to high levels of sulfate seen in these areas, as seen in NRL's sulfate map, top right. There was some smoke seen in the Plains States due to a large amount of fires in this area, but it doesn't seem to have affected PM 2.5 levels in these areas (NOAA, bottom left).

February 16, 2017

PM 2.5 levels rise in West and North-West

Most of the nation experience Code Green (Good) levels of PM 2.5 today, but there were some areas that experience a relatively large amount of pollution. There were Code Orange and Code Red (Unsafe for Sensitive Groups and Unsafe, respectively) levels in Idaho and Montana (AirNow, top left), and Code Purple (Very Unhealthy) levels on the border between California and Nevada. The sources of both areas of high levels of PM 2.5 are unknown. NRL's sulfate map, top right, shows that there were not high levels of sulfate in these areas. There was sulfate recorded over California, but it does not seem to be close enough to the areas with high PM 2.5 to have made a large difference. There was not smoke seen in these areas either, but the smoke seen discussed in yesterday's post from Florida seems to have stayed in the general Southeast area (NOAA, bottom left). The smoke was not caught in NASA's satellite images, most likely because of the low density of the smoke.

February 15, 2017

Smoke Plumes in Eastern USA and increased PM in the Western States

From the AirNow image, it is evident that there was code orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) observed in Parts of the Rocky Mouth States and Pacific Northwest (top left). Within the Pacific Southwest, the AQI was recorded within code yellow which resulted from increased PM in the regions with unknown origins. The HMS image shows fires in Florida which generated very localized smoke plumes (top right). Fires were additionally observed in Texas, but the PM levels were still good overall (bottom left).

February 14, 2017

Moderate AQI impacts the PNW and SE

A majority of the poor air quality for today was observed in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast (AirNow, top left). Localized smoke plumes are shown extending from southern Florida up to North Carolina (HMS, top right). This is likely the cause of the heavy aerosol loading along the east coast (NASA, bottom). Elevations of these values in other regions is likely due to increased sulfates and typical urban pollutants.

February 13, 2017

Fires and Remnant smoke

Throughout the day, we observed a little amount of PM or at least in little or insignificant amounts as observed in the Copernicus image below (left). The Copernicus image provides us with biomass burning concentration over the nation. A lot of the smoke is coming from southern states like Florida and even smoke has been observed from the Gulf of Mexico and smoke from Cuba traveling North. The HMS image on the right shows the fires seen in the Southeast region of the US. Fires come from agricultural and seasonal fires producing light smoke traveling east but dissipating after less than an hour.

February 11, 2017


AirNow's air quality index (top left) shows moderate AQI with code orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) and code red (unhealthy) in southern California and North Carolina. Elevated AOT in South Carolina and Georgia is shown in the VIIRS image (tope right). The reason for this elevation is small smoke plumes in those areas, verified by the HMS image (bottom)