Fires in California & Increased Levels of Ozone Across Mid-West

The NOAA Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product image above shows that there is a heavy smoke concentration above California.

The AirNow Map image above shows that there is a heavy concentration of PM above Northern California. At its heaviest concentration the air quality index reaches Very Unhealthy levels (Purple, 201-300). INCIWEB reports in this region of California there is the Dixie Fire which has burned over 197,000 acres and is only 22 percent contained.

The AirNow Map image above shows an increased concentration of ozone crossing down the midwest. In its highest region the air quality index reaches Unhealthy for Sensative Groups levels (Orange, 101-150).

The Copernics Global Forecast image shows that there is an increased concentration of NO2 in the same area. There is an especially high concentration of NO2 near the Salt Lake region. NO2 is a precursor of ozone, so often where one is found the other is most likely to be as well.

The image above shows that there is air quality warnings along with a high level of heat crossing down the midwest that may help the formation of ozone in that region. 

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:

Smoke Moving South in Africa; Good Aerosol Optical Depth Across the CONUS; Good AQI Levels in Maryland

This NASA EOSDIS Worldview image shows widespread smoke in the southern region of the African continent. The smoke is much grayer than the white clouds (Figure 1).  On Aug 22, the Smog Blog reported this smoke over the Congo region and the northern parts of Angola. This current image shows the smoke now stretching from the Congo into the southern parts of Angola and even into the neighboring nations of Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.

The NASA EOSDIS Worldview with Aerosol Optical Depth corroborates this fact, showing high AOD in the same region (Figure 2). The AOD color code ranges from light yellow (least AOD) to red (most AOD).  For contrast, the NASA Worldview shows generally low AOD levels throughout the contiguous United States for the day (Figure 3).

The above AirNow map of the Maryland region shows Good (Green) AQI levels for the entire day (Figure 4). The AirNow Tech graphs below show the hourly PM 2.5 levels in micrograms per cubic meter (Figure 5) and the Hourly 8-hour ozone levels in parts per billion (Figure 6) for all air quality stations in Maryland. Both graphs corroborate the low AQI levels in the region throughout the day.

PM 2.5 Levels throughout Maryland (micrograms per cubic meter):

Hourly 8-hour Ozone Levels throughout Maryland (parts per billion):


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.