Moderate Ozone Levels in Baltimore; Code Red PM Levels in Washington State Due to Local Fire

Cloud cover over the Baltimore area made aerosol data acquisition difficult through GOES-16 Imagery (Figure 1).  The EPA AIRNow Air Quality Map shows Moderate levels of Ozone throughout the Baltimore-D.C. area (Figure 2).

AIRNow also shows Code Red AQI levels due to particulate matter near Spokane, WA (Figure 3).  INCIWEB indicates these levels are due to the smoke produced by the ongoing Williams Flat fire near the Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake.  This fire began yesterday on August 2 and has produced large smoke plumes (Figure 4).


Moderate Ozone Levels in Baltimore Region; Unhealthy Ozone Levels in Southern California and Arizona; Smoke over Alaska, North CONUS and Canadian Regions

For the Baltimore region, the EPA AIRNow Air Quality Map shows Good (Code Green) air quality in the morning and nighttime (Figure 1).  In the middle of the day, Moderate (Code Yellow) AQI levels develop and recede.  Unhealthy (Code Red) and Unsafe for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange) ozone levels can be seen in both southern California and Arizona during midday (Figure 2).  All these circumstances illustrate how hot portions of the day can exacerbate ozone levels and create safety concerns.



Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product from NOAA reports the  continuing effects of Russian wildfires and Canadian smoke plumes on regions of Alaska, Canada, the Great lakes, and the North Atlantic.

Code Orange Particulate Matter Levels in Montana; Heavy Smoke in Northwest Canada and East Alaska

The EPA AIRNow Air Quality Map shows a large area of Moderate (Code Yellow) and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange) levels of particulate matter in the Montana region east of Missoula (Figure 1).  This is most likely due to several wildfires in the region that remain active.  The Beeskove Fire near Missoula (Figure 2) and the North Hills Fire near Helena (Figure 3) both began in late July and remain active through today.  Images are provided by INCIWEB.

The Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product uses GOES-WEST data to show moderate and heavy smoke concentrations in the Northwest Territories of Canada and the eastern areas of Alaska.  The heavy smoke near Alaska is attributed to large complex fires in its central and eastern regions.  Light smoke concentrations can also be seen from the edge of Russia all across Canada,  Greenland, northern regions of the CONUS, and parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans (Figure 4).


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.

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.