August 2, 2014

Weekend Edition: DISCOVER-AQ Continues and the GOES-R Air Quality Proving Ground Demonstration is up

The DISCOVER-AQ project is continuing in Colorado and today there was an open house at the NCAR Research Aviation Facility. Over a thousand visitors examined the research that was on show at the airport. In the meantime, the aircraft were in the air taking measurements all up and down the front range of Colorado.

At the same time, NOAA, Penn State and UMBC are conducting a near real time experiment in projecting what the next generation of air quality satellite, GOES-R, will see when it is launched in 2015 and on line in 2016. The demonstration involves predicting aerosol concentrations using the WRF-CMAQ model running at College Park, predicting what those aerosols will do to reflected sunlight back at geostationary satellite orbit and then using those predicted radiances in the GOES-R operational algorithm to predict what the aerosol optical depth will be. The intent is not validation of the models involved, but rather to prepare air quality forecasters the opportunity to see what a high resolution, high update rate aerosol product may do for them. The reader is invited to comment on the product.

In northern California, major fires have been ignited by lightning and smoke is now blanketing Oregon and moving east. Smoke is transporting across Idaho and Montana. AQI's are in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups in areas with smoke as can be expected, but the eastern half of the US is in the Moderate range. That widespread haze can also expect to have a significant smoke component. The GASP aerosol and smoke product shows the elevated AOD in the Great Lakes region.

Update: August 4, 2014

The fires in California continue to throw off impressive plumes. Scott Bachmeier of CIMSS in Wisconsin has made this animation of Saturday's impressive fire plumes. And the smoke from California has now created a large sickle from California to Wyoming (from NASA Worldview):

The image also shows that much of British Columbia and Alberta are also covered in dense smoke.

Posted by Ray Hoff at August 2, 2014 6:39 PM
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