June 29, 2013

Weekend Edition: Major Fires Continue Across US and Smoke Seen in Europe

It is really difficult to follow all the developments that have happened on the biomass burning front in North America this week. The West Fork fires in Southern Colorado has burned 88,000 Acres with only 2% containment. The Silver Complex Fire in New Mexico has burned over 100,000 Acres and is only 35% contained. Daily the pyroCb listserve lights up with messages about how severe these fires are in producing smoke at high levels of the atmosphere. Today, Scott Bachmeier of CIMSS reports three distinct blow ups. Today, he reported smoke looping around to southern California (left image below).

But the real news in terms of smoke comes from Canada. GASP shows three areas of remarkable high Aerosol Optical Depth (one decending southeasterly from Central Canada and two others heading southwest from the James Bay region of Quebec.

This is an area of Canada that does not have a routine MODIS product for coverage. I was able to piece together coverage of the region from the LANCE FAS subsets which shows the smoke clearly (left). On the right, Natural Resources Canada has a fire map that shows regions with greater than 30 fires in red. Most of northern Canada is covered.

Last week we pointed out that a major fire blew up east of Manicouagan Lake in Western Labrador. The fire is now out, but all week the smoke from that fire swirled around Labrador, Newfoundland and some headed for Europe. Environment Canada presented an animation of the smoke from their global model. Today, Quentin Laffineur of RMI, Uccle, Belgium sent me a CL51 Ceilometer profile from their site. Both figures below are from 1300 UTC on the 26th of June. Remarkable agreement. Mike Fromm of NRL has seen smoke up to 13km in CALIPSO data over the Atlantic this week.

Finally, lest we forget about Ozone, Southern California went Code Red this evening at 6:00 pm PST. (Left image below). And I should mention that VIIRS is now regularly giving both CONUS (shown right below) and OCONUS (meaning Alaska) and those images are added to the NOAA IDEA website (see side panel under Main Sources for the link).

Update: June 30, 2013 23:00 EDT

The smoke that was seen coming down through Central Canada has reached the US border today. The smoke from Quebec is driving southward down the Mississippi River Valley and will be near St. Louis at this point. The GASP loop on the left clearly shows the descent southward of this Canadian smoke. On the right, Colin Seftor of NASA sent along an OMPS aerosol index plot from yesterday. The Aerosol Index is a measure of generally elevated aerosols seen the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) ultraviolet channels. High index (like high AOD) means significant elevated smoke.

Calipso images from Saturday are also now available and the plume we see in Canada is really pretty low in altitude 0-5 km.

Widespread ozone has been hammering the LA basin for the last three days. The AIRNOWTech readings in the basin are shown below.

Posted by Ray Hoff at June 29, 2013 11:35 PM
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