February 4, 2013

PM2.5 Code Orange in California, Oregon and Utah

In the West of the US, unhealthy levels of particulates (for sensitive groups) continue to be observed mostly in California (Central and North), Southeast Oregon, and Utah. A peak of code orange was briefly experienced also in Northwestern Montana. Code red (unhealthy) was briefly spotted in Eastern Utah.

As Ray pointed out yesterday, San Joaquin Valley in Central California is exposed to a great amount of aerosols, ammonia, nitrates, formaldehyde, CO and other pollutants. Sulfates, on the other hand, are more commonly observed in the Eastern/Southern portion of the US. Therefore, models like NAAPS (top, right) which classifies the aerosols as sulfates, dust or smoke, have not much to add in terms of information on aerosol load in the West. At least not at this time of the year, when the number of fires is significantly reduced.

Zooming in California now, more specifically in the San Joaquin Valley, MODIS Aqua shows hazy conditions (below, left). The AOD retrievals however, are only available for the right half of the valley (below, right).

And below are the cities for which Action Day was called today, as well as the forecast for tomorrow's conditions.

Posted by Patricia Sawamura at February 4, 2013 9:31 PM
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