August 15, 2014

Smoke, Sulfates, and Dust Combine to Affect AOD and AQIs

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 Canadian plume we have grown accustomed to this summer reaches down into Kentucky and Tennessee, although the sun angle prohibits any GOES-West imaging further east than the image indicates. It is possible that this plume stretches to the Atlantic coast, and the MODIS Terra image (top right) illustrates elevated AODs in Canada and northern parts of the US in accordance with this plume. Also, a small plume around the Northern California wildfires mentioned by Daniel yesterday was seen continuing to persist.

The EPA AIRNow combined AQI loop (bottom left) shows increased AQIs in western Canada and northern California around the wildfires, but the largest portion of moderate and USG AQIs are in the southeast United States. The current high is in Atlanta, GA (137), and the NAAPS Aerosol model (bottom right) at 1800 UTC predicts high concentrations of sulfates to affect air quality in this area. In addition, it also predicts smoke to create elevated AODs in Canada and a region of higher AODs due to dust in the Caribbean and Atlantic. This could very well be Saharan dust migrating towards North America, and looking back at the aforementioned MODIS Terra image, one can see high AODs in the southeast corner corresponding to the area of dust in the NAAPS forecasts.

Posted by Graham Antoszewski at August 15, 2014 6:40 PM
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