The Rim Fire outside Yosemite continues to pour smoke northeasterly. It caused Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups reading in Reno and moderate AQI reading all the way into Montana. This morning's Terra image was really impressive for the thickness of the smoke but solar viewing angle and the fact that the smoke was on the eastern half of the MODIS Terra Swath may have exaggerated the optical thickness.
Update: Sunday August 25, 2013 20:00 EDT
The Rim Fire continues to dominate the western air quality. Today, code Red and code Purple were seen in California air quality indices (left panel). Nearly 8300 firefighters are on the lines across the state and nearly 400 square miles are burning, according to CBS News. Smoke continues to flow northeasterly today. Again, I have the suspicion that smoke is suppressing cloud formation in the downwind path of the plume. Earth Observatory recently posted one of my suggestions in this regard and Andy Ackermann was unconvinced. It is possible that the smoke is at higher altitude and could be changing the thermodynamics of the atmosphere which can also suppress cloud formation. In any case, there are no clouds where the visible smoke is seen.
In Baltimore, we see smoke from 10 to 5 km aloft and the layer is descending.
Note: Over the weekend a RAID storage device went down at NESDIS STAR and their webserver stopped. We could not access IDEA products over the weekend. The server is back up but has not updated since 8/23. It should be restored today.Posted by Ray Hoff at August 24, 2013 11:33 PM