June 6, 2017

Smoke and Ozone Across the Nation

Today we saw several plumes of smoke covering Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, a large portion of the center of the nation, southern Canada, and the Gulf of Mexico. The fires in the South West are producing moderate amounts of light to medium density smoke, which seems to be traveling northeast. Fires in central Alaska are producing medium to moderately dense smoke, which is traveling west. The smoke over the center of the nation seems to be remnant smoke that has remained aloft from prescribed fires in Canada. The smoke in the south central potion of Canada seems to be coming from a few fires in the Saskatchewan region. This smoke seems to be traveling South. The smoke over the Gulf of Mexico is remnant smoke from agricultural fires that have been going on in Mexico and Central America (refer to the NOAA HMS images, top and mid left). In spite of this relatively large amount of smoke coverage, the air quality remained mostly affected by Ozone, again. The PM levels were low throughout the nation with a couple of exceptions in the Rockies and California where it reached moderate, code yellow, levels (AirNow PM image, mid right). Air quality was quite poor in the western half of the nation due to elevated Ozone levels, as seen in the AirNow O3 image, bottom left. These elevated levels of O3, reaching unhealthy levels, code orange, were likely due to higher temperature and humidity, as well as clear skies and local pollution, perhaps even some dust aloft in certain areas.

Posted by Julio Roman at June 6, 2017 11:37 PM
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