June 20, 2014

Smoke from Great Slave Lake, Saharan dust, and elevated sulfates affecting air quality

Looking at the NOAA HMS Smoke and Fire Product (top left), the clumps of small red dots indicate masses of currently burning fires, with smoke plumes being indicated by the grey patches. The largest plume stretching from the Northwest Territories down to the US border in the Northeast originates from several fires surrounding the Great Slave Lake, although much of the heavy smoke is in Northern Canada. A smaller plume from other surrounding wildfires in the region is spreading west towards Alaska as well. In addition, the HMS picked up Saharan dust in the Gulf of Mexico that is looking to migrate north into Texas as well as areas of aerosols over the central United States, potentially as a mixture of smoke from the agricultural burns in the Mississippi River Valley, blowing dust, and even sulfates. The EPA AIRNow combined AQI loop (top right) illustrates moderate AQIs for the Southeast, southern California, and portions of both the Great Lakes and Texas. Southern California even saw small areas of USG AQIs, as the current high AQI is in Central Los Angeles County, CA (104).

The NAAPS aerosol model's sulfate surface concentration image for 1800 UTC (bottom left) predicts increased sulfate levels for the Southeast and Great Lakes, which could help explain the large swath of moderate AQIs. The NAAPS total AOD image (bottom right) mirrors the data shown previously, with elevated AODs in Canada resulting from smoke, in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from dust, and in the Southeast and Great Lakes resulting from sulfates.

Posted by Graham Antoszewski at June 20, 2014 6:01 PM
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