December 17, 2012

Blowing dust across Southern Plains; Moderate PM2.5 conditions consistent with this weekend

Moderate PM2.5 levels were recorded across portions of the Pacific Southwest, Plain, Great Lakes and Mid Atlantic states (top left, courtesy AIRNow). According to the HMS analysis team, an area of blowing dust was observed this morning crossing eastern Texas into southern Oklahoma and Arkansas. This dust was believed to be lofted in response to high winds in west Texas. Today's MODIS Terra RGB imagery superimposed with AOD indicates slightly elevated AOD across this region where dust was observed (top right). Elsewhere AOD retrievals are less visible, due to expansive, dense, cloud layers. Nearly the entire Eastern seaboard was saturated with overcast conditions making AOD measurements sparse (bottom left). In Baltimore, MD, weak atmospheric forcing coupled with onshore flow helped keep the air completely saturated for nearly the entire day. The Camnet webcam photo shows Baltimore's dense fog in both 8am and 3pm images, supporting the BWI airport reports of less than half a mile visibility throughout the entire day.

Posted by Alexandra St Pe at December 17, 2012 11:21 PM

the area of slightly elevated AOD that is identified in the Terra image over north Texas appears to be the Dallas metro area and not blowing dust. At the time of the Terra pass the blowing dust was just developing and was well to the west of this feature and likely off the western edge of the image.

Posted by: mark ruminski at December 19, 2012 9:35 AM
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