January 15, 2013

Code Red forecasted in Pacific Northwest for wood burning (ban in effect now). Sulfates and smoke raise AOD along eastern coast and into Gulf of Mexico. Strong dust blowing in Pacific Southwest.

The first image below, courtesy NOAA HMS, shows the fire locations across the United States. The red dots correspond to active fires, and the grey areas are plumes. There are very light plumes in the Southeast region. These fires have been burning steadily for the past few days. Most of these patches of fires are in the Mississippi Valley and Florida. The image below, courtesy GASP MODIS (Terra satellite), shows the AOD image for the country today. You can see that most of these raised values correspond to more optically thick areas, which correspond to the fires and smoke debris throughout the nation. You can see raised values off the western coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico that may be due to the concentration of fires in the region. There are also high amounts of sulfates across the eastern portion of the country, which may have increased the AOD.

The first image below shows the image for forecasted EPA AIRNOW AQI values for the Pacific Northwest region. Specifically, in Washington and northern Oregon there are large amounts of particulate matter (PM 2.5) that are stagnant in the region. Wood burning bans are in effect for the region and the air quality should improve over the next few days. As of now, actual values have not reached forecasted numbers. The next image shows the NOAA forecasted ozone for the entire country. It appears that the ozone plumes off the eastern Atlantic are moving eastward. High levels of NO2 (cloud coverage blocked most of the OMI measurement) along the eastern portion of the country may be forming large amounts of the surface ozone in these plumes.



Additionally, the GEOS-5 Chemistry model shows an increase in AOD following the same large plume of smoke debris and sulfates stretching from the Mid-Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico (upper left corner of image). Some of this AOD has been confirmed in the MODIS Terra image shown in the first set of images (above). Various small plumes of dust are also currently blowing throughout the Southeast region. The NOAA dust forecast shows that this dust will be moving eastward throughout the week. This dust blowing is also picked up in the MODIS Terra AOD image shown above.

Posted by John Sullivan at January 15, 2013 4:37 PM
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