July 7, 2014

Canadian Wildfire Smoke from the North, Saharan Dust Blowing in from the South

NASA Worldview imagery (top left) shows a plume of smoke visible over Northern Canada, where heavy smoke is still being produced from wildfires in the area--the majority burning in Alberta, NW Territories, and Quebec (NOAA HMS Google Earth image, top right). Dry conditions in these regions have been perfect for fire development this summer with 134 fires reported so far and only 55 of them controlled as of July 2, 2014 (www.ciffc.ca). Light to medium remnant smoke from these fires is making its way over both US borders; West into Alaska and South into the Great Lakes Region and Plain States. The smoke visible from space is becoming unbearable down on Earth, creating hazy conditions in Edmonton--hundreds of miles away from the site of the fires--which can be seen in the street view image (courtesy of CTV News, below left). Unhealthy AQIs are noticeable over this area in today's EPA AirNow combined ozone and PM2.5 loop (bottom right).

The WorldView image above also shows what is believed to be Saharan dust traveling across the Atlantic Ocean and over into the Southern US and Midwest. The EPA AirNow image above shows Moderate PM2.5 AQIs in the Southeast, where elevated levels of NO2 in the troposphere are being observed (OMI image, left). Barely any sulfates are affecting the Southeast, as seen in the NAAPS image (right). There are some fires located along the Mississippi River (see NOAA HMS Google image above) that are believed to be adding smoke to the mix of greenhouse gases and Saharan Dust in the atmosphere.

The EPA AirNow image above also shows heavy ozone production from sunny skies and high temperatures in and around the Sacramento, California area. It has been noted that a nearby fire in SW Yolo County is bringing in smoke, mixing in with ozone in the atmosphere and creating USG conditions early this morning. Coastal winds mixing aerosols in the atmosphere helped decrease these conditions to Moderate during the day, where the AQI leveled from 111 to 51 as of 19:00 EST (00:00 UTC).

Posted by Farrah Daham at July 7, 2014 11:30 PM
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