January 31, 2013

Raised AOD in Southeast and Mississippi Valley. High levels of NO2.

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 but a high concentration of fires in the Southeast region . These fires have been burning steadily for the past few days. Most of these patches of fires also extend into the Mississippi Valley region. The image below, courtesy GASP East (Goes EAST), shows the derived AOD animation 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 the Southeast region and the Gulf of Mexico that may be due to the concentration of fires in the region. There are high amounts of sulfates across the eastern portion of the country, which may have increased the AOD. Also, there remains a large increase in the AOD in southern California that is most likely due to dust blowing in the area.

The first image below shows the image for EPA AIRNOW AQI values for the country today. Specifically, in Washington and northern Oregon there are large amounts of particulate matter (PM 2.5) that are stagnant in the region. The forecast for most the rest of the country today has no major air quality issues. The second image, courtesy OMI NRT, shows the retrieved quantities of the tropospheric NO2. This is showing a large increase in nitrates in most of the country. Cold temperatures and higher humidity (California was around RH 90% and 35 F) strongly favor the formation of most of these nitrate aerosols, which will increase the amount of P.M. 2.5 in these regions and in turn increase the amount of AOD. You can see the correlation in the above GASP East animation in California compared to the OMI NRT values.

Posted by John Sullivan at January 31, 2013 6:18 PM
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