April 4, 2014

Moderate AQIs along East Coast, smoke plumes from agricultural burning continue

Looking at the NOAA HMS Smoke and Fire Product (top left), the small red dots indicate currently burning fires, while the grey areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off of the Southeast coast symbolize smoke plumes. The plumes, near Mexico, Cuba, and the Southeast United States, are all likely due to the agricultural burning in the corresponding areas. In addition, dust blowing in from northwest Texas could still be seen in area around the intersection of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. One can also see in the HMS a large clump of fires just above this region in Kansas and Oklahoma, although a look at the AQI and AOD in the Midwest shows that did not seem to affect air quality in the region much. The MODIS Terra image (top right) is focused on the Southeast, where elevated AODs were seen around the plumes seen on the HMS.

The EPA AIRNow combined AQI loop (bottom left), however, details a different picture of air quality today. Mostly good AQIs were seen across the United States, with the only significant areas of moderate AQI being in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and southern Texas. As mentioned above, the fires in the Midwest did not seem to influence the AQI, but the plumes in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean seem to correspond to the areas of moderate AQIs today. Finally, the MODIS AOD trajectory (bottom right) shows elevated AOD to move into the Southeast by 0Z on April 6, as the model winds change from variable to mostly southerly winds. This AOD could be due to these winds picking up the smoke plumes from the Gulf of Mexico and migrating them into the Southeast, which could impair air quality by the end of the weekend.

Posted by Graham Antoszewski at April 4, 2014 7:09 PM

Just wanted to correct the information above. The large clump of prescribed fires described above in the HMS graphic are in Oklahoma and "Kansas", not Nebraska.


Douglas Watson
Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment

Posted by: Douglas Watson at April 7, 2014 9:30 AM

Thank you very much Douglas Watson, and yes sir, you are 100% correct - my apologies. I am not quite sure how I let that slip, but it as been corrected in the post. Please keep me on my toes in the future as well.

Posted by: Graham Antoszewski at April 8, 2014 9:38 PM

Ha Ha, will do!

Posted by: Douglas Watson at April 9, 2014 4:39 PM
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