February 21, 2014

Poor air visibility in Texas and high AOD in Southwest, possibly due to dust

Looking at the NOAA HMS Smoke and Fire Product (top left), the small red dots indicate a groups of fires in Florida and the Midwest. A thin plume of smoke from Florida into the Gulf of Mexico was seen, although the cause is most likely agricultural burning in Cuba rather than the Florida fires. The MODIS Terra image (top right) shows raised AOD values in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Southwest. These raised AOD values may be due to dust migrating over the area from Texas and Mexico that Daniel mentioned yesterday.

There was not a lot of data for Texas in terms of AOD, so to look to see if these aerosols are still affecting the area, to the left is a picture of Big Bend National Park on the border of Texas and Mexico. The visual range at 3:45 CST was 64 miles, and comparing this to the clear/hazy photo from the same webcam (middle right), one can see that air quality is poor in this area and these aerosols, most likely dust, is causing poor visibility.

The EPA AIRNow combined AQI loop (bottom left) details moderate AQIs for the Northeast and in small patches across the United States. There were even some isolated USG AQI readings, as the high AQI currently is in Newark, NJ (110). The OMI NRT tropospheric NO2 column (bottom right) illustrates less elevated NO2 levels than normal, particularly in the Great Lakes. This could explain why the region had mostly good AQIs today, with the lower NO2 level decreasing the PM2.5 concentration.

Posted by Graham Antoszewski at February 21, 2014 5:17 PM
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