May 10, 2014

Weekend Edition: Few areas of moderate air quality; dust and haze in Southern California

Air quality over the US is pretty good on Saturday. There was a region of moderate PM air quality in PA, NJ, and MD. In Southern California, the AQI was in the moderate range east of the San Gabriel Mountains. In the MODIS image on the right below, what appears to be dust is obscuring the desert near Edwards Air Force base (the area of white sand in the middle of the image).

There is notable haze over the LA basin and it is drifting westward off shore. While the haze looks significant, the appearance of low cloud indicates that the humidity is high and the aerosols are probably grown hygroscopically. The NOAA HMS image shows an extended area of smoke off the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

Update: May 11, 2014 21:00 EDT

The winds in the west have intensified and there are large areas of blowing dust in the US Southwest from California through Texas. The AQI loop for the day shows code red conditions in California, New Mexico up through Oklahoma. The system which is generating the winds is providing a remarkable line of convergence through Oklahoma with 30 and 40 knot northwest winds to the west and southwest of the line and 30 knot southeasterly winds to the east of the line. The NOAA Geostationary Team has a real-time experiment going on which is demonstrating the capability of the NOAA-15 Rapid Scan imagery in this area and Dan Lindsay put up a loop this afternoon.

The VIIRS operational dust product still does not quite catch the wind driven dust in New Mexico although there is a smattering of orange dust from the dusk mask on the image below (left). Visually in AQUA MODIS, however, dust can be seen coming off of White Sands, New Mexico.

Posted by Ray Hoff at May 10, 2014 10:48 PM
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