February 20, 2014

Moderate AQI in eastern states: Dust in Texas; Smoke off the Carolinas

Today, AinNow reported moderate PM2.5 concentration in most of the eastern states. The most active regions throughout the day were Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Great Lakes, were even unhealthy levels for sensitive groups were read in the afternoon (top left). Southern California is still under moderate AQI conditions.
In terms of fire, HMS reported a small patch of remnant thin smoke visible off the coast of the Carolinas along a frontal boundary (top right). Some of this smoke is from yesterday's smoke-producing fires in Georgia/Florida while some may be smoke from fires 2-3 days ago in those states. Moreover, a thin unknown aerosol could again be seen over the western and northeastern Gulf of Mexico. The aerosol generally seemed to be drifting northward. AOD retrievals from MODIS show high aerosol loading in Texas and northern Mexico (bottom left). This aerosol could be dust due to strong winds causing a significant blowing dust event. Finally, Aerosol Monterrey Modeling indicated the presence of sulfate in the Great Lakes area (bottom right).

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: Haze over India and Bangladesh

In what has become common in Bangladesh during the winter, thick haze blanketed the country when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite acquired this true-color image on February 5, 2014.The hazy pall is the product of large numbers of fine solid and liquid particles drifting in the atmosphere. These aerosols scatter or absorb sunlight depending on the composition and shape of the particles. Landscape colors that would normally be vibrant and distinct become an opaque shade of gray. The white patches in the image are clouds. The aerosol particles have a variety of sources, but biomass burning plays an important role in Bangladesh, where a significant portion of the population relies on traditional fuels such as week, straw and dung for cooking and for heating homes. These organic fuels deliver a heavy load of particles to the atmosphere because people tend to burn them at relatively cool temperatures; this leads to incomplete combustion.

Posted by Daniel Orozco at February 20, 2014 10:26 PM
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