January 17, 2013

Unhealthy PM2.5 for sensitive groups in Ca and UT; High AOD in Texas

Air quality has worsened today compared to that reported yesterday by Ruben. Moderate PM2.5 levels were read in the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and in California as usual. In fact, unhealthy PM2.5 levels were reached in some stations throughout the day in Ca. (top left). As for Utah, unhealthy levels for sensitive groups were read during the day (top right). According to fires and smoke, HMS detected patches of smoke this morning just off the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina moving northeastward (bottom left). This remnant smoke is likely from the large amounts of agricultural fires that were burning in the Southeast US yesterday. Finally, high AOD levels were retrieved by Modis over Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma (bottom right).

Special Feature: Dust Storm in Colorado and Kansas

A cold front pushed eastward across the continental United States in early 2013, passing through Colorado on January 11. Ahead of the cold front, a dust storm arose along the Colorado-Kansas border. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on January 11, 2013.
Although the dust was thickest in western Kansas, many of the source points for the storm were in Colorado. One dust plume arose roughly 70 kilometers (40 miles) south of Colorado Springs. In Kansas, the eastern edge of the dust storm spanned 240 kilometers (150 miles) and the dust was thick enough to completely hide the land surface below, especially east of Goodland. Salina.com reported that the blowing dust reduced visibility to a quarter of a mile (0.4 kilometers).
Dust storms in this region have occurred in the midst of severe, lingering drought. As of January 8, 2013, the U.S. Drought Monitor described drought conditions in western Kansas and southeastern Colorado as "exceptional." A smaller dust storm struck the same region in November 2012.

Posted by Daniel Orozco at January 17, 2013 10:50 PM
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