October 31, 2007

Fires around the Nation…

Hazy conditions persist over Texas, which is likely due to smoke from fires. HMS points out all the hotspots around the nation. PM estimates (EPA AIRNow) coincide with the satellite observations of haze.

Still Monitoring the CA Fires…

Although smoke is still visible and widely distributed conditions have improved overall. Below is the AQUA MODIS RGB and AOD image. Also refer to the update from NIFC (archived here).

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 6:26 PM

October 30, 2007

Clear day

It was very clear today with a high pressure system over Baltimore. The hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 9.2 to 16.6 ug/m3 were recorded at the Oldtown site during ELF’s operation, which increased a little from yesterday. The aerosol optical depth was ~0.1 from the AERONET site, MD Science Center. There were some thin aloft layers at ~1.7 km, which might be smoke from the northwest of UMBC from the HYSPLIT.

Posted by li at 7:30 PM

Fires

Unfortunately, fires from California are still the major air quality story.

Several fires remain in California (refer to USDA Forest Service image). Fire occurrences were also evident in Arizona and Oklahoma. For current information and detailed statistics on fire events in the U.S. please refer to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) -> http://www.nifc.gov/fire_info/nfn.htm (archived on the blog).

PM levels were elevated in the West, parts of the North, and Southern Texas. AOD from IDEA is useful to fill in the AQ gaps where ground based PM monitors are not available. Thus, the aerosol load is slightly elevated over the Northeast and is particularly intense over California and the southern region of Texas.

True Color - left Terra MODIS, right Aqua MODIS

* Aqua MODIS, Western U.S. and Rapidfire Subset of CA.

NAAPS provides a model of the aerosol species. Sulfates are probably primarily impacting the Eastern U.S. while aerosols in the West are mostly smoke related.

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 5:41 PM

October 29, 2007

Clear day

It was very clear today, since it had been raining a lot in the last week. The hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 4.1 to 20.9 ug/m3 were recorded at the Oldtown site during ELF’s operation. The aerosol optical depth was ~0.08 from the AERONET site, MD Science Center. There were some very thin aloft layers at ~2.5km, which might be smoke from the north west of UMBC from HYSPLIT.

Posted by li at 11:49 PM

Review of California fires from the OMI instrument

Dr. Omar Torres put together a series of six images showing the OMI instrument's aerosol index for the fires in California last week (and he kindly gave us permission to share them on the Smog Blog). They are overlaid over a static view of the surface in order to more clearly show the aerosols from the smoke plumes. If you look back over our posts from those days, the plume can be compared very closely with the visible images from MODIS.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 7:04 PM

Smoke in the middle US

Some fires in TX, LA and SD regions were located by MODIS.

CA was still covered by clouds. The air quality in CA remained Moderate and Unhealthy. The weather map showed that there was rain over CA, which, we hope, might help the firefighters there.

Posted by li at 5:33 PM

October 28, 2007

Fire in Hawaii

A fire on the big island of Hawaii was producing a large plume of smoke curling around between the islands. Below is a high resolution 250 m image from MODIS Aqua, with the fire pixels outlined in red. The NOAA Operational Significant Event Imagery team posted an annotated image of the fire, reporting that it is a major brush fire with some homes and residents at risk.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 11:40 PM

PS, from 35,000'

Tonight, I flew from Baltimore to Oklahoma City. Smoke trails were very thick and at several thousand feet below the aircraft over Missouri and Oklahoma. The lidar guys should be up and running for the next few days and looking for features at 6-8 km.

Posted by Ray Hoff at 10:10 PM

Smoke over much of the Western U.S.

The cold front brought clear skies and good air quality to the eastern U.S., but much of the western and part of the central U.S. is covered in light smoke. Looking at the MODIS Aqua image (left), smoke is visible over California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado, plus some over Kansas and Oklahoma. AIRNow indicated fine particle concentrations from moderate to unhealthy in the western region. The source of the smoke is remnants of the California fires as well as multiple smaller fires throughout the west.

Despite getting many of the fires under control, southern California is still experiencing quite a bit of smoke, both new and from past days. Here is a close up from MODIS.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 8:13 PM

October 27, 2007

Cooler Weather Brings Some Relief to California

Smoke continues to be a major contributor to the poor air quality in California. The AIRNow PM2.5 levels have decreased from Unhealthy to Moderate throughout the night and into today in Southern California. We haven't highlighted the forecasted PM levels from our colleagues at NOAA but the concentrations of PM2.5 forecasted for this afternoon were concerning throughout the Southwest.

Meanwhile, smoke spread eastward and can be seen over Missouri (left image). It appears that this smoke is not from the California fires but rather coming from Colorado. There is no report in Inciweb of a fire in Colorado at this time so this might be a cloud feature but it doesn't appear as cirrus in the infrared. It may also be due to the fire spotted by Ana yesterday. We'll have to watch this for other images.

We can't see the California fires today from space as there is a major cloud shield over the area (see the GOES-W image, right). This is a good development and Reuters reports that the cooler, cloudier weather is helping firefighters. Rain will be good.

And it will start to dry out here in Maryland after the welcome rain we've had for the last few days. The NOAA GOES IR Water Vapor product (we don't show this often) shows how dry it will be through the lower Great Lakes states. This means clear skies and cold nights. Cover the pumpkins, because much of the Appalachians is forecasting frost tonight.

Posted by Ray Hoff at 4:42 PM

October 26, 2007

Smoke in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah

The dense smoke over southern California yesterday has spread east into the southern tip of Nevada, northwestern Arizona and southwestern Utah. See MODIS Terra RGB (left). The HMS analysis has the smoke in the same area.

Particulate air quality worsened again in southern California. In the San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Springs areas most monitors are either in the orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) or red (unhealthy) range. Surface monitors in southern Nevada though are in the good (green) range.

Beautiful MODIS Aqua image of the Grand Canyon and Colorado river. The eastern most part of the smoke plume transported from California can be seen to the left. Also, notice the smoke in the center of the image from a fire burning in the eastern part of the Grand Canyon.


Posted by Ana Prados at 5:45 PM

October 25, 2007

Smoke Over Southern California

Here is the MODIS AQUA image

Posted by Ana Prados at 11:32 PM

California Smoke moves inland

Today's satellite imagery clearly shows that the smoke due to the California fires is moving inland and is now covering much of southern California. Unfortunately, at this time there is missing data in one of the images. Here is today's HMS analysis of the California smoke plumes. Although air quality has improved some compared to earlier in the week, there are still areas of dense smoke. AIRNOW has useful information on how to protect yourself from the health effects of smoke


Posted by Ana Prados at 9:28 PM

Some improvement in Southern California AQ

So far there appears to be some relief in particulate air quality in southern California. Air quality there has been poor all week due to the intense fires. More later when the satellite imagery becomes available.

Posted by Ana Prados at 3:06 PM

October 24, 2007

Fires near Houston, Texas

While all eyes are on California, there are several fires on the Texas coast near Houston, producing long smoke plumes over the Gulf of Mexico. The left image is a high resolution MODIS Aqua image. On the right is the NOAA Hazard Mapping System map, showing both the Texas fires and the smoke from the fires in California.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 7:21 PM

Dense California smoke continues

MODIS Terra once again provides a full view of the smoke plume from the California fires today (from the Gallery at NASA Rapidfire). Compared to yesterday's MODIS Terra image, the smoke plume is as large but is starting to turn back toward the coast. Note that the red dots are "fire counts" (boxes drawn around thermal anomolies, in this case fires). Fine particle concentrations continued to be poor in San Diego and Los Angeles. See Ana's post earlier today for the aerosol optical depth image.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 6:42 PM

Smoke over the Pacific

Here is the most recent GASP-West image, still showing thick smoke over the Pacific off the California coast, although the AOD is somewhat diminished from yesterday's image at the same time (see Jill's post from yesterday). The smoke also appears to be moving north along the California Coast. Today's HMS analysis shows the extent of the plume, as seen by NOAA analysts based on GOES imagery. The good news is that the winds apparently have diminished and this is helping contain the fires.

Posted by Ana Prados at 3:00 PM

At USAQ, we want you to take care

Having relatives who are living within areas under evacuation and who owned land in the midst of the Fallbrook, Escondido, Valley Center area being hit by the Witch Fire, we want to send our hopes and best wishes to people who are under evacuation from these devastating fires.

Recent news is that the Santa Ana may die back today and that is good news for the firefighters who are trying to keep ahead of the fires. Our thoughts are with those of you who are in California.

Posted by Ray Hoff at 2:00 AM

October 23, 2007

NASA and EPA Story on fires and dust in California

EPA's AIRNow Program and NASA's Applied Sciences Program issued another news story on the fires and dust storms in southern California. We helped with the image (below); the full story is available at AIRNow Status.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 9:41 PM

Full MODIS Terra image of the California smoke plume

Here is a full image from MODIS Terra of the smoke plume today. The Gallery at NASA Rapidfire has this image as well as a detailed (and very large) 250 m high resolution version. The red dots are "fire counts" (boxes drawn around thermal anomolies, in this case fires), more clearly seen in the 250 m image.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 7:57 PM

California Fires still on

The fires in California were continuing today, clearly visible in the MODIS imagery. The increased MODIS aerosol optical depth values related to the smoke from the fires were also visible over the Pacific ocean (source: IDEA). At the same time, AIRNow also showed the moderate and unhealthy air quality caused by the smoke.

Posted by li at 6:36 PM

Mid-afternoon aerosol image for California fires and dust

The NOAA GOES aerosol product clearly shows the massive smoke and dust plumes from California and Mexico over the Pacific ocean today. We'll post more images and information later today as the NASA satellites complete their overpasses and data becomes available.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 3:17 PM

October 22, 2007

News story on three days of dust and smoke

EPA's AIRNow Program and NASA's Applied Sciences Program issued a news story on the fires and dust storms in southern California the last three days.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 10:15 PM

More on California fires

Matching the MODIS true color image of southern California that Li posted earlier today, the MODIS aerosol optical depth and GOES aerosol optical depth data both show the large smoke and dust plumes, with AOD values in excess of 1.0. PM2.5 concentrations exceeded 300 ug/m3 at some monitors again today.

The dust plumes blowing off Baja Mexico, both over the Pacific Ocean and into the Gulf of California (east of the Baja peninsula) are nearly as impressive as the smoke plumes.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 9:29 PM

fires

The fires in CA were still ongoing and observed by AQUA.


Posted by li at 5:26 PM

October 21, 2007

Update: MODIS Aqua image of Southern California fires and dust

A striking image of the smoke and fires in California and Mexico from the MODIS sensors on NASA's Aqua satellite. As the afternoon progressed, Santa Ana winds increased producing huge dust and smoke plumes down the southern California and Baja Mexico coast. The red boxes are fires counts, basically red lines drawn around "thermal anomolies" (fires). The gray plumes from those fire counts are smoke. The more yellowish plumes are dust, blown up by the high winds. The streaky white lines over southeastern California and western Arizona are dust as well. Completing the picture is the Von Karman vortex south of the Isle de Guadalupe off the Baja coast.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 11:58 PM

Smoke and fires cause Code Purple air quality in southern California

The Santa Ana winds continued to blow today in southern California. Dust storms have now combined with several large wildfires, including fires in Malibu that caused highway closures and evacuations. Fine particle concentrations were code orange, red and purple (AIRNow image, left) in the region. The code purple was in Riverside county-- PM2.5 concentrations reaching 337 ug/m3--with significantly elevated concentrations at other monitors in Ventura and the Imperial Valley (CARB plot, right).

MODIS aerosol optical depth data clearly shows dust and smoke plumes over the Pacific ocean due to the east to west Santa Ana winds. On the right is the MODIS true color image from Terra, when the plumes were still pretty small. Smoke is gray, dust is yellowish. As of just after midnight EST, the processed true color image is only partially available, but it shows huge smoke plumes.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 8:02 PM

October 20, 2007

Large dust storm in southern California

A large dust storm covered southern California this morning, including Los Angeles and southern San Joaquin valley. MODIS Terra captured it clearly (left). The California Air Resources Board PM10 sites in L.A. and San Joaquin Valley jumped to almost 400 ug/m3 at around 10 am.

The rest of the U.S. was clear due to the frontal system that past through the past day or so.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 5:47 PM

October 19, 2007

cloudy in the east

It was very cloudy in the east american, and less cloudy in the west today. AIRNow shows that the air quality has remained good, except for some moderate reports on the north east and west coast.

Posted by li at 11:58 PM

October 18, 2007

Haze in the northeast and southern Texas

Moderate air quality persists over the northeast, southern Texas, and parts of central California. In the northeast (left) air quality worsened over New England with a couple of monitors in the orange range. It was too cloudy over the east to discern any haze in the satellite imagery or for AOD retrievals. Along the Texas gulf coast there are a few monitors in the moderate range and haze is visible in this AQUA MODIS RGB in the southernmost tip of the state.

Posted by Ana Prados at 11:38 PM

hazy and humid

It was hazy, humid and cloudy today. The attunated backscattering showed the high clouds at ~10km all day. The hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 15.6 to 21.5 ug/m3 were recorded at the Oldtown site during ELF’s operation. The aloft layer located at ~1.8km at ~14:00UTC was from the south west of UMBC.

Posted by li at 11:20 PM

October 17, 2007

Moderate AQI Levels


The boundary layer rose up to 1.3 km between 14:30-18:00 UTC. A residual layer from yesterday's boundary layer was observed during the first 2.5 hours of today's timeseries. A layer aloft that extended from 1.5-2.5 km advected over ELF. Hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 18.7 to 31.4 (Moderate AQI Levels: 57-82) ug/m3 were recorded at Maryland's Department of the Enviroment Oldtown site in Baltimore during ELF's operation.

Posted by Ruben Delgado at 11:46 PM

October or August ?

Particulate air quality remained in the moderate range today over the east, as we experience yet another late August-like day with high temperatures near 80F in the DC metro area. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware monitors reached the code orange range range at 4 pm (left). The location of the haziness over the northeast and parts of the midatlantic region can also be seen in today's MODIS AOD retrieval (right). The haze is faintly visible in the MODIS true color imagery. One central California monitor also reached the orange range earlier in the day.

Posted by Ana Prados at 6:00 PM

October 16, 2007

Moderate haze in midwest and midAtlantic

Moderate fine particle concentrations across the midwest and midAtlantic today, under heavy cloud cover. The moderate levels in Los Angeles were under cloud cover as well. As Li reports, Baltimore and DC had pretty hazy conditions with the PM concentrations steadily rising during the day.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 11:15 PM

hazy day

It was hazy today with high clouds at ~10km. The hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 19.5 to 27.2 ug/m3 were recorded at the Oldtown site during ELF’s operation. The aerosol optical depth was ~0.68 from the AERONET site, MD Science Center. The aloft layer located at ~2km at ~17:00UTC was from the south west of UMBC.



Posted by li at 11:00 PM

October 15, 2007

Good PM2.5 AQI Levels


A rising boundary layer, from 0.3 to 1.5 km, was observed during today's timeseries. Aerosol aloft was also observed between 2-2.5 km. Clouds, at heights between 9-12 km, advected over ELF after 16:00 UTC (not shown). Hourly PM 2.5 were Good during today's timeseries. PM2.5 concentrations in the range of 8.5 to 16.6 ug/m3 were recorded at Maryland's Department of the Enviroment Oldtown site in Baltimore during ELF's operation.

Posted by Ruben Delgado at 11:28 PM

Good to Moderate AQI

The AQI (EPA AIRNow), in general, varied from moderate to good across the entire U.S. Skies appear particularly cloudy over the central U.S.. Other than that, there are no major events to report.

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 8:41 PM

October 14, 2007

Haze, smoke, but generally good

Light haze across the southeast from the fires in the area the past few days (left MODIS image). Some fires in the northwest, producing smoke across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (right MODIS image). Air quality was generally good though, with some moderate readings scattered throughout the country.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 8:09 PM

October 13, 2007

Mostly local pollution today

The particulate AirNow map for the day shows that moderate pollution levels are found in Chicago and Denver and the northwest. Denver and Chicago were under cloud so we don't have satellite data on them today. The MODIS images from Terra and Aqua show very little haze today, although some light diffuse (AOD ~ 0.3) haze formed in Georgia and the southeast in the afternoon.

Posted by Ray Hoff at 7:54 PM

October 12, 2007

very clear day

It was very clear today. The hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 3.5 to 9.4 ug/m3 were recorded at the Oldtown site during ELF’s operation. The aerosol optical depth was ~0.05 from the AERONET site, MD Science Center.


Posted by li at 10:12 PM

No News is Good News

No significant news today, good quality over most of the US with the exception of some regions in central and southern California which remain in the moderate range (left). There is still some fire activity in the southeast, and you can see a few smoke plumes over Georgia and Alabama (right), but particulate air quality remains in the good range.

Posted by Ana Prados at 5:30 PM

October 11, 2007

Fall is here and Smoke plumes in the South

Good air quality today in the east as cold temperatures settle in what appears to finally be the beginning of Fall 2007. There was however plenty of fire activity throughout, particularly in the the south and south east. You can find the fire locations and plumes in today's HMS analysis (lower left). Smoke plumes can also be seen in today's Aqua image (right) over Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The white areas in the sourthermost portions of Alabama and Mississippi are clouds though.

Posted by Ana Prados at 11:48 PM

October 10, 2007

Rising Boundary Layer


A rising boundary layer, from 1 to 3 km, was observed during today's timeseries.Hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 3.9 to 15.3 ug/m3 [AQI Levels: 13-50 (Good)] were recorded at Maryland's Department of the Enviroment Oldtown site in Baltimore during ELF's operation.

Posted by Ruben Delgado at 11:14 PM

Improved AQI

The AQI is generally good around the nation; few EPA AIRNow sites reported moderate AQI along the East. Some moderate reports were also out West. Haze is now mostly over the Atlantic.

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 9:11 PM

October 9, 2007

AQ Yellow in NE

The AQI was generally good around the nation, except for the Northeast, where haze was most intense (AOD ~0.6). The AQI has improved over the Midwest as haze moves over the Northeast and the Atlantic. EPA AIRNow reported mostly moderate air quality for this region.

AQUA MODIS RGB

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 9:43 PM

October 8, 2007

Hot and Hazy


Haze skies prevailed during today's observations, as the Mid-Atlantic region experienced temperature's in the 90's. A residual layer (1-1.5 km) was observed during the first two hours of observations. This layer mixes with the rising boundary layer by 17:00 UTC. A rising boundary layer can be observed, reaching up to 2 km at 19:00 UTC. Hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 23.8 to 31.1 ug/m3 [AQI Levels: 67-82 (Moderate)] were recorded at Maryland's Department of the Enviroment Oldtown site in Baltimore during ELF's operation.

Posted by Ruben Delgado at 11:53 PM

October Haze

Haze remains over the East. The air quality hasn’t changed much from yesterday, mostly moderate conditions in the Northeast and Midwest. MODIS RGB and AOD (~0.4) images show the distribution of haze. Skies are relatively clear in the Central U.S. The AQ will likely improve as the week progresses.

Left: TERRA MODIS
Right: AQUA MODIS

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 9:24 PM

October 7, 2007

Just a little haze in upper midwest and midAtlantic

Air quality continued to be pretty good across the U.S., although the east is still hot and dry. A little haze in the upper midwest (Ohio, Michigan) across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, but it moved off shore by afternoon.

Posted by Jill Engel-Cox at 6:58 PM

October 6, 2007

Hazy through the Great Lakes

Air quality is only moderate in the Great Lakes states today as haze continues to be pulled out of the southeast. A system over Louisiana and Arkansas is pulling air from the Gulf Coast up through Missouri and as it heads northeasterly over Illinois and Ohio, the optical depth is increasing to values approaching 0.4 in Vermont and Massachusetts. Particulate air quality is moderate throughout the region.

In the west, the view from space is spectacular. On the left is an image of Tahoe with snow already in the mountains. On the right is a photo from a friend who was at last Saturday's reunion of South Lake Tahoe High School and they awoke to snow on the ground.

Posted by Ray Hoff at 10:15 PM

October 5, 2007

A little hazy in the Great Lakes

Air Quality was good today in most of the US with the exception of a little haziness over the great lakes (lower left) and in parts of the northeast. The MODIS AOD was also slightly elevated over the Great Lakes. Air quality improved over the central US and remained in the good range in the midatlantic region. Good visibility today at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky (right image) where I don't quite yet see evidence of leaf color changes.

Posted by Ana Prados at 7:45 PM

October 4, 2007

clear and humid

Today was clear and humid with scattered high clouds. The hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 24 to 37 ug/m3 were recorded at the Oldtown site during ELF’s operation. The aerosol optical depth was ~0.15 from the AERONET site, MD Science Center. The aloft layer at ~2km was from the west of UMBC from HYSPLIT.


Posted by li at 11:35 PM

Some haze in Illinois and Kansas

Surface air quality climbed into the moderate range in parts of the northeast and central US but remained the same elsewhere. The MODIS IDEA imagery (left) shows the slightly elevated AOD over Illinois and Kansas, and haze can be seen in the MODIS terra RGB in the same area, where surface pm also increased compared to yesterday.

Posted by Ana Prados at 4:57 PM

October 3, 2007

Southeast fires

Skies are very clear in the Central U.S., but many fires remain in the Southeast. The air quality is primarily good around the nation except for some moderate reports in the California and the East.

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 7:20 PM

October 2, 2007

clear day with low clouds

Today was very clear with low clouds. The hourly PM 2.5 concentrations in the range of 6.6 to 11.6 ug/m3 were recorded at the Oldtown site during ELF’s operation. The aerosol optical depth was ~0.1 from the AERONET site, MD Science Center.

* The vertical resolution was 30m for today.

Posted by li at 10:37 PM

Some Clearing, but Fires and...

Clearing in parts of the East and West, however, reports of moderate AQI still remain. Several fires are also evident in Kentucky (bottom left) and parts of the Southeast (refer to AQUA MODIS). The AOD was particularly elevated (~0.5) over Arkansas.

Posted by Nikisa Jordan at 6:43 PM

October 1, 2007

Clouds


Cloudy skies prevailed during today's observations (not shown cirrus deck). Dark red counts are due to clouds that advected over ELF. A rising boundary layer can be observed, reaching up to 1.5 km. Aloft aerosols layers were observed during the timeseries. These layers were located above 1.5 km and reached up to 3.7 km.

Posted by Ruben Delgado at 11:21 PM

South America is burning

We don't normally feature air quality stories from other continents but I thought you'd like to see what "bad" really is. This is today's MODIS image of South America (Andes are on the left side):

Vanderlei Martins will be having an experiment there right about now.

Posted by Ray Hoff at 10:54 PM

clear and cloudy

Both west and east are very cloudy today, which is observed in AQUA and TERRA (fires are also visible in the Southeast). AIRNow shows that the air quality has remained good, except for some moderate reports, due to haze in the midwest.

Posted by li at 5:57 PM