On-Campus Work Opportunity

We at the UMBC Atmospheric Lidar Group, Division of Atmospheric Technologies and Analytics (DATA) are inviting applications for two positions in our research group. We are looking to add fellow computer science students who have completed at least CMSC 202 (or have prior experience programming), who know Python, PHP, and/or JavaScript. This opportunity will allow you to assist with the development of a data archive and corresponding web portal for a prototype ceilometer/lidar network testbed. This prototype network will be hosting data from academic institutions and state/local agencies participating in the U.S Environmental Protection Agency Enhanced Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Sites (EPAMS) program.

This is a part-time position (maximum of 20 hours a week) during the Fall and Spring semesters and full-time (maximum of 40 hours a week) during Winter and Summer breaks.

We are looking to add fellow computer science students who have completed at least CMSC 202 (or have prior experience programming), who know Python, PHP, and/or Javascript. If you have any questions or wish to apply for the position, please email us by 10/14/19 at this address: data@umbc.edu.

Smoke from Williams Flats Fire Impacting Air Quality in WA; Code Red Ozone AQI in Southwestern U.S.

Figure 1. GOES-16 True Color Image for August 5, 2019 23:41 UTC.

NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product reported a region of heavy density smoke observed over portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and into North Dakota. The smoke was captured in the GOES-16 and GOES-17 retrievals. The GOES-16 “True Color” (Figure 1) image (courtesy NOAA’s AerosolWatch) from shows the locations and associated smoke plumes with the Williams Flats Fire in Keller, WA. This fire started August 2 after a band of early morning thunderstorms with lightning moved across the eastern portion of the Colville Indian Reservation, as reported by INCIWEB.

The AOD associated with this smoke ranged between 0.2-1 over his region (Figure 2: GOES-17 AOD Composite).

Figure 2. GOES-17 AOD Composite Image (21-24 UTC) for August 5, 2019.
Figure 3. PM2.5 Concentrations from Air Quality Stations in Spokane, WA.

The smoke is impacting the local air quality as shown in the PM2.5 timeseries (Figure 3) from air quality monitoring stations in Spokane, WA (data source: AirNowtech.org). PM2.5 concentrations ranging between 18-128 up/m3 after 2:00 pm PDT (14:00 LST), and is the source of the Code Orange and Yellow AQI (Figure 4, Airnow animation) in the Pacific Northwest.

The rest of the nation experienced for most of the day Code Yellow (Moderate AQI), except locations in Northern Michigan and the Southwestern U.S.. Southwestern Ozone Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) AQI levels were fueled by the excessive heat experienced today over the region.

Figure 4. Airnow AQI Animation for August 5, 2019.

Moderate Ozone AQI Levels in the Eastern US; Code Red AQI in San Bernandino, CA; Smoke over Canada and Atlantic Ocean

Figure 1. Airnow AQI Loop for July 17, 2019.

The Airnow animation above shows Moderate (Code Yellow) AQI levels along the Eastern US (Figure 1) as a surface high pressure system sets up over this region, and its associated light winds and high temperatures enhance ozone production. Code Yellow Ozone AQI levels were also reported in the Southwestern US, but Unhealthy (Code Red) AQI levels were experienced in locations along San Bernandino, CA (Figure 2).

NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product (Figure 3) reported the presence of smoke from several wildfires in Alaska blowing east into Canada as well as smoke from Canadian fires over Maine and extending into the Atlantic Ocean.

Figure 3. NOAA Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product for July 17, 2019


Smoke Aloft Over Baltimore; Moderate AQI Levels in Ohio River Valley and Northeastern States

Today’s UMBC (Figure 1) lidar timeseries shows remnant smoke, between 2500-3000 meters, from the Canadian fires in the morning hours. The boundary layer reached max heights of 1900 m, and was cloud capped (red returns around 1900 m from 16:30-20:00 UTC) from 12:30-4:00 pm (local time).

Figure 1. UMBC 1064 nm Lufft CHM15k timeseries

NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product continues to report smoke from wildfire activity throughout Alaska and Canada. The smoke continues to produce a large areas of varying density. This smoke covers an area extending from the easternmost portions of Russia into the Yukon and from the Brooks Range in northern Alaska to Juneau and northwestern British Columbia. The most dense smoke resides from over Anchorage into much of central and southwestern Yukon. The smoke (Figure 2) can be seen in the VIIRS true color image (Figure 2) over the Atlantic Ocean (gray plumes).

Figure 2. VIIRS True Color Image for July 10, 2019.

Moderate AQI Levels were reported in the Ohio River Valley, Northeastern States and Gulf States, as shown in EPA’s Airnow Air Quality Index animation (Figure 3).

EPA Airnow AQI animation for July 10, 2019.

Atmospheric Lidar Group

Research by the Atmospheric Lidar Group at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) revolves around understanding atmospheric chemistry and physics in the troposphere with laser remote sensing technology. The impact of the Mid-Atlantic meteorology on air quality, wind energy, and cal/val of satellite and numerical weather prediction models is examined with the use of active (lidar, rawinsondes, and radar) and passive (sun photometer and satellite) remote sensing techniques, and surface in-situ measurements of gases and aerosols.