April 11, 2014

Smoke from Central Plains fires affecting air quality in KS/OK/TX

Looking at the NOAA HMS Smoke and Fire Product (top left), the small red dots indicate currently burning fires, while the grey area spanning into Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas is a thin plume of smoke originating from the agricultural fires burning in the Central Plains. This plume is moving south-southwest, however, so it does not explain the elevated AOD values seen by MODIS Aqua (top right) in the Southeast, where a small amount of fires were seen as well.

The NAAPS model projection (bottom left) details increased sulfate levels for much of the East, and this combined with the burning fires could be attributing to the high AODs seen in the Southeast. The EPA AIRNow combined AQI loop (bottom right) illustrates moderate AQIs popping up across the United States, including Southern California, the Southeast, and the Kansas/Oklahoma/Texas area corresponding to the smoke plume seen by the HMS. Unhealthy levels were even seen in Oklahoma earlier today, and Wichita, KS has a current AQI of 116, made up almost entirely of ozone. Thus, the smoke plumes in this area is negatively affecting air quality, and if the fires in the Central Plains continue at the same pace, one can expect this air quality trend to continue.

Posted by Graham Antoszewski at April 11, 2014 7:12 PM
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