Hazy Skies in the Eastern U.S. due to Western U.S. Wildfire Smoke

Lidar/ceilometer observations from multiple sites continue to show the presence of the western U.S. wildfire smoke. Smoke is confined to heights at 3-10km and not impacting the surface air quality measurements, as the PM2.5 Air Quality Index (AQI) is Good and shown in the Airnow.gov Particulate Matter (PM) AQI animation below.

Ceilometer sites showing smoke aloft this morning:

Arendtsville, PA (#PADEP)

Bristol, PA

City College of New York, NY

Edgewood, MD

Essex, MD

Indianapolis, IN

Londonderry, NH

Philadelphia, PA

Providence, RI

Richmond, VA

UMBC (Catonsville, MD)

Washington DC



California Wildfire Smoke Captured by Ceilometer Network Stations

Smoke from the California wildfires is visible in the NOAA GOES-16 image below.

This smoke plume is confined at heights between 4-10 km, as shown in lidar/ceilometer timeseries, in multiple sites in the East Coast. The ceilometer network is a multi-agency effort with the participation of over 15 state air quality management agencies (and growing), U.S. EPA, NASA, Environment and Climate Change Canada, NOAA and academia (https://alg.umbc.edu/ceilometer-network) led by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Atmospheric Lidar Group. NOAA Cooperative Science Centers (Office of Education/Educational Partnership Program) are part of this initiative, in particular the Center of Earth Science Systems and Remote Sensing Technology (CESSRST, cessrst.org) and the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS_M, ncas-m.org), which UMBC is a partner institution.

Washington DC Dept. of Energy and Environment

UMBC (Catonsville, MD)

Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (Arendtsville, PA)

UMBC/PADEP (Bristol, PA)

Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health

Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management (Providence, RI)

New Hampshire Dept. of Environmental Services (Londonderry, NH)

Canadian Fires Over The Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US

Significant wildfire activity can be observed along Alaska and Northwestern Canada with smoke spreading along Washington, Oregon, Idaho and northern California and Nevada. Smoke from Canadian wildfires in Manitoba and Ontario is widespread along the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States according to NOAA’s  Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product (Figure 1).

Figure 1. NOAA HMS Smoke Product

A thick plume of smoke, and its corresponding AOD retrieval, from the Canadian wildfires was observed this morning in today’s GOES-16 GeoColor and AOD Product over the Great Lakes, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states  (Figure 2 and 3: NOAA STAR NESDIS Aerosol Watch Product from  12:41 UTC (8:41 EDT)).

Figure 2. GOES-16 12:41 UTC (8:41 EDT) GeoColor Image.
Figure 3. GOES-16 12:41 UTC (8:41 EDT) AOD retrieval.

This plume has not impacted the surface air quality monitors as shown in the lidar timeseries below from measurements at City College of New York (Figure 4), Howard University Beltsville Research Campus (Figure 5) and UMBC (Figure 6). The smoke was observed 2500-4000 meters and above the boundary layer. The boundary layer at 18:00 UTC (2:00 pm EDT) had a max height around 2000 meters. Real-time lidar timeseries for these sites are available under the Real Time Data tab (above), as well as images from past days under the Archived Data tab.

Figure 4. CCNY lidar timeseries for July 9, 2019.
Figure 5. Howard University Beltsville Research Campus lidar timeseries for July 9, 2019.
Figure 6. UMBC lidar timeseries for July 9, 2019.

Agricultural Fires in Florida; Moderate AQI in the Pacific Northwest and Colorado

March 6, 2019 NOAA Hazard Mapping System Smoke Product.

NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product (Google Earth image above) reported the presence of several agricultural fires in Florida, with plumes moving south. Locations of fires (light yellow dots
(Fire Radiative Power (FRP) ) over-imposed in GOES-16 Geo-Color image below and AOD associated with the smoke plumes of the agricultural fires were captured by NOAA GOES-16 satellite. GOES-16 images below as courtesy of NOAA’s AEROSOL WATCH.

March 6, 2019 GOES-16 Fire Radiative Power (FRP) Product.

March 6, 2019 GOES-16 Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) Product. Locations with values near 0.5 are associated to locations where smoke was observed.

This smoke didn’t impact the air quality in Florida, as based on EPA’s Airnow Daily Average PM AQI image below. Moderate PM2.5 AQI levels were reported along the Pacific Northwest and the state of Colorado.

EPA Airnow Daily Average Particulate Matter (PM) Air Quality Index (AQI).

Smog Blog is Back Online. Good AQI in Baltimore.

Smog Blog is back online. The last few months we have been updating hardware in order to offer, as we have done for over a decade, a daily diary of air quality in the United States. Web links to past and present products showcased in this site will be available in the next few weeks. Please stay tuned. Feel free to leave comments. Archived posts are available upon request.

The image above has the last 18 hours of lidar observations (1064 nm Lufft CHM15k) at UMBC. Clouds advected between 7:00-12:00 UTC (2:00-7:00 AM Local Time. The mixing layer height is below 1.5 km. Wave like returns at top of mixing layer in the first 12 hours of observations suggest presence of bore/gravity waves.

Aerosol Optical Depth retrievals from sun photometer measurements (AERONET) at UMBC indicate that today fine particulate matter is present within the mixing layer.