Today the EPA AIRNOW has issued many unhealthy AQI warnings for certain cities in California, specifically in the Sacramento region. Because of this code red, there has been a Spare the Air advisory issued, where residents are asked to limit their driving in order to reduce the amount of emissions entering the air. This poor air quality is caused by the large amounts of ozone in this region. The ground-level ozone is created by sunlight (ultraviolet) that endures a photochemical reaction when it reaches certain organic compounds and Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). Also, because the Sacramento Valley is shaped like a bowl, ozone pollution presents a serious problem when an inversion layer traps pollutants close to the ground, causing unhealthy air quality levels. In the second image taken from Calipso at 532 nm backscatter, I have circled the area that is nearest the Sacramento valley. You can see from the image that there is significant amounts of pollution in the air.
Aside from the unhealthy air in California, there are still wildfires burning in North and South Carolina and they are releasing smoke. This smoke is lighter and not as dense as in previous posts, but is still continuing to make an impact on the AOD for the area. The first image shows the Code Red for the area, which is due to the wild fires. The second image shows this increase in AOD from the GASP data, which has also been directly related to the smoke plumes and the debris they are emitting. The region has had several warnings issued for the area and have been issued by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The link cautions residents about the dangers associated with these fires and the poor air quality they are causing.
Posted by John Sullivan at July 5, 2011 8:28 PM