February 8, 2014

Weekend Edition: Elevated aerosols in Colorado and Pennsylvania

Both Colorado and Pennsylvania have elevated aerosol concentrations today. Pennsylvania may be an anomaly from the ice storm of last week. Thousands of people in that area are still without power from downed power lines. For many, wood burning in stoves and fireplaces are the only way to keep houses warm. It is a good indication of how bad our air quality would be if we were forced to use more polluting fuels. Satellites are not much help for us now since clouds and snow cover most of the US and aerosol retrievals are nearly impossible. Below these images, the Goddard Space Flight Center MPL lidar is showing increasing aerosol concentrations under the very shallow boundary layer.

Update: Feb 9, 2014 19:00 EST

The AIRNOW AQI loop today looked as if something serious was going on in Florida. They hit code red this afternoon. This appears to be due to one station (SYDNEY) hitting 2000 micrograms per cubic meter, a very unlikely reading. It is quite possible that this is an instrument error. Nothing of interest shows up in the satellite imagery.

There is a code orange going on in Idaho, likely to be wood burning and low boundary layer heights. Yesterday's major tire fire in South Carolina did not show up on satellite imagery or in PM readings at the surface.

Posted by Ray Hoff at February 8, 2014 10:46 PM
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