June 15, 2011

Canadian Smoke over Baltimore; Arizona and Okefenokee Wildfires Smoke over Mississippi Valley and Southeastern States

Today's lidar timeseries shows the presence of smoke aloft, above the boundary layer (~around 2 km) advecting over Baltimore at heights between 2.5 and 6 km. The column size distributions retrievals from sunphotometer measurements at UMBC (image courtesy of AERONET reveal the presence of coarse particulate after 12:00 UTC (08:00 am local time). NOAA HYSPLIT air mass back trajectories (not shown here) revealed that the smoke is from the wildfires in western Ontario, Canada.

The smoke of the Canadian wildfires is not impacting the surface PM2.5 concentrations in the Northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic states, as Good PM2.5 AQI concentrations were recorded (EPA Airnow PM2.5 animation). In the Mississippi Valley and Southeastern states Moderate to Unhealthy (Code Yellow to Red) PM2.5 concentrations were reported, as smoke from the Arizona and the Honey Prairie/Okefenokee swamp wildfires are impacting the air quality. The smoke from wildfires is the cause for the high AOD readings recorded by the MODIS sensor in NASA's Aqua satellite.

Burn scars of these Arizona and Okefenokee wildfires, are visible in today's MODIS/Aqua "false color" image.

Ozone concentrations in southern states reached Code Yellow to Code Orange AQI concentrations (Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups), with the highest levels reported in southern California and Atlanta.

Posted by Ruben Delgado at June 15, 2011 10:52 PM
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