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 large plumes and 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 and Plains regions. 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 (similar to the animation Patricia showed yesterday), 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 western portion of the country today. Specifically, in California and Utah there are large amounts of particulate matter (PM 2.5) that are stagnant in the region. Another look at the AOD from another satellite, courtesy MODIS (Terra), emphasizes the higher AOD in central California, the Plains states, and the Southeast.
Additionally, here is an article on the continuing decline of the Beijing Air QualityPosted by John Sullivan at February 5, 2013 8:12 PM