June 13, 2008

Smoke returns to the D.C area, high ozone in Californa, Pennsylvania and New York

Complicated air quality picture today. The main story again is the North Carolina fire smoke, which as Meloe reported yesterday has been making its way south over the ocean and also further inland. It appears the circulation around the high pressure system over the mid-Atlantic pulled the smoke that was off the north Carolina shore a couple days ago, south, and then west into central North Carolina, and then today north, into western and central Virginia. This is best seen in the GASP AOD loop. and also in the NOAA Hysplitt model backtrajectories shown at the bottom, with trajectories ending at 21 Z today at 500 m. The band of smoke is clearly visible from the Terra overpass over North Carolina and Virginia, and reached the Washington D.C region today (left, UW MODIS Terra and EPA AIRNow AQI). Another thinner band of smoke can be seen in the Terra RGB over eastern Virginia from a fire in the VA/NC border over the Newport News/Norfolk region and the Chesapeake bay. The spread of this plume is also consistent with the backtrajectories over eastern Virginia shown below. All this smoke is leading to moderate to unhealthy air quality in central North Carolina and possibly also in Virginia. In Winston-Salem, NC the air quality reached code red. The image to the right shows the NPS webcam photo from Look Rock, eastern Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and haze to the east where the camera is pointing.

Meanwhile..... further north, ozone was the lead AQI at many locations in eastern Pennsylvania, New Yersey and New York, with a couple monitors reaching the code red range. Ozone was also the lead AQI in central California which reached the unhealthy (orange) range. Click here for the separate PM2.5 and Ozone AQI maps. In western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio though PM2.5 was the lead AQI. Check this weekend's blog for continued coverage .....

Posted by Ana Prados at June 13, 2008 7:30 PM


Last Friday while riding my bike to commute home, I smelled some smokes and your site just confirmed it. I just did not know it was coming all the way from North Carolina. You can see my whereabouts from this googlemap link:


Thanks for your great site. I ride a lot and need to learn more about air quality. I have been learning quite a lot from this site.


Posted by: Denis Nadeau at June 20, 2008 3:34 PM

Thanks Denis, we appreciate the comments. That area
did seem to be impacted by smoke and if you look at the trajectory map with trajectories ending at 500 m, which is within the boundary layer, the flow was from areas where there had been smoke last few days, so although we cannot exclude other local sources, it is possible you were indeed noticing the North Carolina smoke.

Posted by: ana prados at June 22, 2008 5:57 PM
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