April 18, 2014

Smoke causing poor air quality over the Central Plains

Looking at the NOAA HMS Smoke and Fire Product (top left), the small red dots indicate currently burning fires, while the grey area in the Central Plains is a resulting smoke plume. This smoke is most likely coming from the persisting agricultural fires in the region, with the densest smoke occurring in northeastern Kansas and southeastern Nebraska. The MODIS Aqua image (top right) illustrates elevated AOD corresponding to the plume on the HMS as well as farther north into South Dakota, a possible result of migrating smoke.

The EPA AIRNow combined AQI loop (bottom left) depicts USG and unhealthy AQIs in the Central Plains, with the highest AQIs being found in the eastern Kansas-Nebraska area, the same place where the most dense smoke was observed . Thus, with higher AODs and AQIs, the agricultural fires and resulting smoke have deteriorated air quality in the Central Plains. Moderate and USG AQIs were also seen in the Great Lakes, and the NAAPS Aerosol sulfate model (bottom right) has increased concentrations over the eastern half of the United States, including this region. This projected increase in sulfates could be attributing to the increase in AQI today.

Posted by Graham Antoszewski at April 18, 2014 6:03 PM
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