August 3, 2013

Weekend Edition: Fires continue to plague the West

Fires in the Oregon and Northern California have clouded an area almost 1/2 the size of Oregon. In California the Salmon River Complex fire has been reported to have grown 38% yesterday to nearly 5,000 acres. The fire was caused by lightning. In Oregon, the Whiskey Complex, Brimstone, Douglas, and Labrador fires add up to nearly 20,000 acres burning. Again, lightning is the indicated cause. On the right below, the Aspen Fire in Fresno County, California, has grown this week to nearly 18,000 acres but is about 50% contained.

In the East, moderate AQI readings for PM2.5 are quite widespread, but are largely under cloud, so there is not help from satellite images today.

In the Caribbean, however, there is a really impressive band of Saharan dust seen both in the RGB from MODIS Terra and in the Calipso cross-section from Friday. Frustratingly, the MODIS AOD from both Terra and Aqua is not plotting on LANCE today.
We can look for that dust to impact the US over the next few days. It is well aloft in Calipso's image and extends upwards to over 15,000 feet. For reference, that plume is over the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean (Montserrat, Antigua, Guadaloupe, Dominica, Martinique).

Update: August 4, 2013 18:15 EST

Today is much like yesterday but there are some remarkable images from space. At the 250 meter resolution of MODIS, we have images of the fires in Oregon (notice Crater Lake), in Northern California (note Mt. Shasta) and central California (the lake on the other side of the Sierras is Mono Lake. All fires have extensive smoke hugging the valley floors.

Below on the right is the national Aerosol Optical Depth which reflects both the fires in the West but also the dust in the Caribbean which is starting to impact Southern Florida.

Posted by Ray Hoff at August 3, 2013 10:22 PM
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