July 22, 2014

Continued Smoke through Central U.S.

The smoke that has been over the Great Lakes, Mississippi Valley, and Plains States over the past several days is still there, as seen on HMS imagery, below left. This has resulted in the elevated AOD seen in the MODIS Aqua imagery shown below right. Other wildfires burning in Nevada have spread smoke from Nevada through Utah, Wyoming, and parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado.

The EPA AirNow AQI loop below indicates that the smoke may have affected ground-level air quality, with Moderate AQIs in a swath from the southern Plains through the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes into the Mid-Atlantic. There is another area of Moderate AQIs in the Pacific Northwest, and northern Rocky Mountains States reaching into British Columbia where a brief spot of AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups flares up mid-afternoon that may be caused by the fires in Washington over the past week. Lidar observations at UMBC show a cloud capped boundary layer, extending up to 2 km, in the early observations. Smoke aloft, as indicated in the HMS smoke product, was observed as well extending up to 5 km.

The fires and smoke seen in Arizona in the HMS imagery above led to poor visibility in the Grand Canyon, as seen in the NPS webcam image below left. For comparison, images on clear and hazy days are shown below right.

Posted by John Sullivan at July 22, 2014 9:29 PM
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