July 12, 2008

Widespread smoke plumes lingering over California, drifting across the US continent and strong haze over the East coast

As reported by the National Interagency Fire center, fire managers continue to battle the wildfires and several communities have been evacuated throughout California. Lingering smoke can be observed on today’s MODIS TERRA RGB image (top, left) mostly over northern California and southern Oregon. It can also be seen on today’s MODIS TERRA (View image) and GASP animated AOD map (top, right) with very strong AOD values (at least 1 at 550 nm). Today’s mass particulate measurements monitored at the ground (EPA Airnow’s PM2.5 map, bottom left) are evaluated as “unhealthy” (code red) in Northern California.

As Ana wrote in yesterday’s post, the particles from the Californian wildfires (and probably the Russian fires discussed earlier) are drifting towards the East forming a widespread plume across the US continent. We can clearly see strong GASP AOD values roughly from California to Ohio. This aerosol plume seems to be hovering high enough not to affect the PM2.5 measurements at the ground. Today’s EPA Airnow’s map shows, in deed, “good” to “moderate” air quality conditions over the area of interest. Despite cloudy conditions, the MODIS TERRA RGB image shows some haze over Colorado and Kansas. This is associated with strong MODIS TERRA AOD values (between 0.6 and 0.8 at 550 nm).

Finally, today’s GASP AOD image shows hazy conditions over the East coast from North Carolina to New England and fanning out over the Atlantic. Although it’s not easy to discern cloud from haze over the East coast on today’s MODIS TERRA RGB image, particles are clearly hovering over the Atlantic offshore from Massachusetts. This is, again, confirmed by strong MODIS TERRA AOD values. Yet, air quality conditions were “good” to “moderate” and ozone level reached “unhealthy for sensitive groups” only in the state of New York at 6 PM this evening.

According to today’s animated GASP AOD, wind and precipitation forecast image (bottom, right), the extensive aerosol plume across the continent and the haze over the East coast are supposed to meet, probably leading to very strong AOD values from Pennsylvania to Maine in the next 2 days.

Posted by Meloe Kacenelenbogen at July 12, 2008 6:49 PM
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