The NOAA Hazard Mapping System has identified hundreds of fires in the south and east of the country. A major plume of smoke has moved offshore and is heading out to sea. In addition, burning is beginning in Central America and Cuba. Just one of the fires is shown in the MODIS RGB on the right. It is in the Ozarks of Arkansas.
In the west, the PM is elevated all across the LA basin. In downtown LA, readings have reached nearly 80 µg m-3. The ABC News 7 webcam in Burbank shows that the haze has obscured the mountains.
Jos Hernandez asked a question on Thursday about whether we saw a large fire that occurred when a tug and barge hit a petroleum pipeline near Lafitte, Louisiana. The image of the fire is shown in a newspaper report from the Baton Rouge Advocate (below left). The fire plume is visible in MODIS's image on March 12. Unfortunately, there was some cirrus cloud over southern Louisiana so it is not the clearest image. I have circled the plume in red.
Left: AP Photo/US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.
As David Krask of Maryland Department of Environment commented Thursday, AIRNOW has sent out notification that as of Monday, March 18, they will be implementing a new AQI color scheme. The scheme will reflect the reduction of the "good" AQI definition from 15.5 to 12.1 µg m-3. This will make large portions of the country fall into the "moderate" or yellow air quality readings. In the future, we will be reflecting the new AQI definitions.
Update: March 17, 2013
Happy St. Patrick's Day. Aye, begorrah, but it is a wee bit fitting that the AQI across the country is in the green. Except for residual moderate readings in the Los Angeles area, but considering how the Lakers treat the Celtics and the Trojans treat the Irish in football, it make be just the curse of the Irish on Los Angelenos.Posted by Ray Hoff at March 16, 2013 8:18 PM