July 29, 2014

Moderate AQIs on Coasts, Smoke over North and East

Air Quality across the country seems better than it has been in days, with the areas of Moderate AQI seen in the EPA AQI loop below left largely near the coasts, except for some small spots popping up around the Great Lakes and Plains. Small areas of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups and Unhealthy show up in central California, growing and shrinking by turns as the day goes on. The GASP AOD animation, below right, shows elevated AOD around central California and southern Texas. Also visible is a strip of elevated AOD stretching south from Canada and around the Great Lakes toward the Mid-Atlantic.

The NWS wind imagery, below left, shows a counterclockwise circulation northeast of the Great Lakes, which would explain the drifting seen in the GASP animation and the curl in the smoke seen in the HMS image below right. This smoke is part of a plume covering much of Canada, largely originating in fires in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia. There is also a small area of smoke in central California that might be responsible for the higher AQIs in that area, as well as several fires in the Mississippi Valley and Southeast that might explain Moderate AQIs in this region.

First signs of smoke advecting over Baltimore can be seen in the UMBC lidar timeseries. The smoke is confined between 3 to 5 km. The boundary layer extended up to 2 km, with ocassionally clouds capping it.
Posted by John Sullivan at July 29, 2014 11:59 PM
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