June 13, 2017

Fires in Arizona and New Mexico, Ozone Across the Nation

Wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico created relatively small plumes of light to medium density smoke today (HMS image, top left). The "Round" and "Teacher" wildfires in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico have burned around 2,500 acres of land. Both are believed to have been caused by lightning, and neither appears to be contained at all as of yet. The "Highline" wildfire in Tonto National Forest, Arizona alone has burned over 1,300 acres of land. This fire also seems to be producing light to medium density smoke, and all the plumes appear to be traveling east and north east. A few small plumes of smoke in the Northern Mississippi Valley, pictured in the second HMS image, top right, appear to be traveling north. Smaller local fires, possibly agricultural, could be producing these small plumes of smoke, however, there have been no reports on this, so it is uncertain what the origin of this smoke is. Particulate matter 2.5 affected the air quality mostly in the North Atlantic region today reaching moderate, code yellow, levels for the most part (AirNow PM image, mid left). Local pollution was likely the cause of these elevated pm2.5 levels. Ozone, on the other hand, not only affected the Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic, but also parts of the Great Lakes Region, the Rockies, and the Pacific Southwest, causing poor air quality, which reached moderate levels for the most part, but did go into unhealthy levels (code orange) in certain areas (AirNow O3 image, mid right). The MPL image, bottom left, shows a lidar image taken at UMBC. A pretty consistent layer of aerosol can be seen in this image at an altitude of four kilometers. This lidar image further shows the effects of the high ozone count experienced in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The high pressure system that caused the stagnation and high temperature is behind the homogeneous boundary layer, which shows no clear transitions (pictured in the lidar image).

Posted by Julio Roman at June 13, 2017 4:10 PM
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