July 2, 2011

High AOD along the Southeastern / Mid-Atlantic Coast; Rising ozone levels in Maryland

As fires continue in North Carolina and Georgia (top, left: MODIS Terra true color image), high values of AOD were observed along the Atlantic coast all the way from Southern Georgia to Maryland (top, right: MODIS Terra AOD).
Smoke was also observed over the Midwest and according to analysis from the NOAA HMS team, it is mostly due to smoke from the large wildfires in New Mexico which is still producing dense smoke.

In Maryland, ozone levels have increased as we can see in the AIRNow-tech hourly averaged O3 plots (2nd row, left). PM2.5 levels (2nd row, right) seem to have increased slightly compared to yesterday in Edgewood, Beltsville and Oldtown but not in Fairhill.

Here at UMBC, BAM readings of PM2.5 do not show a significant increase in mass concentration either. UMBC nephelometer however, shows increasing in total scattering since Friday, July 1st (3rd row, left). The increase in the scattering angstrom exponent, also from nephelometer data, indicates a change in the size of the sampled particles (smaller). One could suspect that it could be due to smoke particles from the fires in the Southeast but HYSPLIT 36h backtrajectory indicates that the air mass came from North (3rd row, right).

Obs: AIRNow website is out for maintenance this weekend so AQI maps won't be posted today.

Posted by Patricia Sawamura at July 2, 2011 10:10 PM
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