May 22, 2016

Fort McMurray Smoke over the Great Lakes

Smoke from the Canadian Fort McMurray wildfires continues to move east. The top images, RGB and AOD, are from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) showing smoke over Ontario, Canada and the Great Lakes region (data source NOAA IDEA). The bottom left image is the VIIRS smoke product showing that the air mass associated with the high AOD has been identified as smoke. The smoke extended as far south as Kentucky and Tennessee before wrapping east towards the Appalachians.

May 19, 2016

Canadian smoke remains aloft; Possible dust in the Pacific Southwest

Moderate air quality impacted the Great Lakes, northern Plains states, and northern Mississippi Valley region (AirNow, top left). The cause is likely the ongoing presence of residual Canadian wildfire smoke (HMS, top right). NASA satellite imagery observed this smoke moving southwest into the U.S. from Manitoba and Saskatchewan (bottom left).

In the early evening, California and Nevada experienced hazardous AQI levels, indicative of a concentration of large particles. A potential cause is blowing dust (yellow overlay) that was observed in the VIIRS AOD report (bottom right). Remnant smoke from the Gulf of Mexico could be the reason for the heavy aerosol loading shown in the southeast.

May 18, 2016

Canadian Smoke Affects The Northern Plains

Remnant smoke from the Canadian wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia still traveling east across Canada and extending south to the Northern and Central Plains, and sections of the Western Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes Region (HMS, top left). Also, a smaller plume of smoke can be seen aloft in the Gulf of Mexico, this is due to agricultural fires in the Yucatan Peninsula, and Central America. The GASP animation, top right, shows elevated AOD levels in Canada and the Northern Plains due to the smoke. The smoke can also be seen extending from the Northern Plains to just above the Great Lakes Region in the NASA's Worldview satellite image (bottom left). Extensive cloud coverage north of that obscured more extensive imaging. In spite of all the smoke covering the north portion of the US, the air quality remained good throughout the nation. The AQI image, bottom right, shows only a few small sporadic spots of moderate, code yellow, air quality; mostly in the areas affected by the smoke. The moderate air quality affecting southern California is due to elevated ozone levels and possible gusty winds carrying dust.

May 17, 2016

Scattered Moderate AQI; Smoke moves in from the north

Sparse Moderate AQI was observed throughout the country (AirNow, top left). A large area of smoke from Canada is shown moving south and entering the northern Plains states (HMS, top right). This plume is visible in NASA satellite imagery as well (bottom left). North Dakota and the southern Mississippi valley regions have notably heavy aerosol loadings likely caused by light remnant smoke (VIIRS, bottom right). This product also shows blowing dust in the pacific southwest.

May 16, 2016

Relatively Good Air Quality Across the United States; Smoke Layer Aloft Persists in Canada

Air quality conditions were generally good, with slightly elevated, Code Yellow, Moderate air quality indices (AQIs) across the Pacific Southwest,Southeast and Plain Sates (top left). The ongoing fires in northeast Alberta and British Columbia continued to burn, sending moderately dense smoke across the region (top right). Today's MODIS overpass on-board with Terra satellite observed the smoke aloft, indicating elevated aerosol optical depth (AOD) (bottom left). Finally, light remnant smoke was also observed off the Mid-Atlantic coast (bottom right).

May 15, 2016

High AOD in Canada, North Dakota and Montana from Fort McMurray fires

Smoke spanning from the Fort McMurray fires in Canada can be seen in today's satellite retrievals. Aerosol optical depth ranging from 0.4-1.0 was observed over Alberta, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Montana in the MODIS Terra overpass over this region (top left image). The top right image is the VIIRS RGB image showing the smoke at source of the fires. Bottom left image is the NASA Aqua MODIS 7-2-1 product showing the burn scars from the Fort McMurray fires, with the red dots representing the locations of the active fires. Finally, AQI reached Code Purple and Red AQI levels in southern California as shown in the Airnow animation.

May 13, 2016

Smoke over Central U.S.; Ozone in San Joaquin Valley

The Fort McMurray fires are still going, contributing to a smoke plume that stretches from northern Canada to Mexico, seen in the EPA fire and smoke map below left. The EPA map of particulate matter shown below right indicates that this plume has little effect on surface air quality.


Ozone has a larger impact, as seen in the EPA Ozone AQI map below left, with parts of Texas, Arizona and California reaching Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange), and large portions of the Pacific Southwest and southern Rocky Mountains at Moderate (yellow) AQIs. This prompted an Air Action Day in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria area of Texas. The ozone in California may be related to the elevated levels of NO2 seen in the OMI tropospheric NO2 image below right.