As our new blogger Peter Luu pointed out yesterday, we are starting to see widespread areas of burning in the Southeastern US. This is the time of year that farmers burn the winter chaff off their fields so this smoke is agricultural in origin. Moderate AQ levels are seen in Mississippi and Alabama but these states are under cloud (top panel).
The Hazard Mapping System at NOAA shows the fire counts across the nation (on the left below) and on the right below, we have enough clear skies to see some of the fire plumes in Georgia.
Update: Sunday March 10 6:00 pm
Moderate air quality readings cover much of the middle part of the country, from the Gulf to the Great Lakes along the Mississippi. In eastern Alabama/western Georgia there is an isolated station with Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups and a similar code orange reading has popped up in South Carolina. This is most probably due to the burning in the region. Warmer weather is starting to move us into smog season and we can expect to started seeing some impact on ozone in the next few weeks as the solar elevation angle increases.
On the right below, Chris Hadfield sent down a photo from the international space station which shows smoke emanating from Mount Etna in Italy which has returned to activity.
Photo credit on Etna Image: Chris Hadfield, CSA-ASC and NASA
Posted by Ray Hoff at March 9, 2013 10:37 PM