Increased Levels of Ozone in Maryland

The AirNow image above shows that there was an increased level of Ozone in regions of Maryland on September 11th.  Large portions of Maryland had a Yellow Ozone AQI level (Moderate) and the Beltsville area had an Orange Ozone AQI level (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.) In the AirNow Tech graph below shows that around noon the Beltsville site recorded having around 90 ppb.

An Ozone Sonde launched on September 11th by the UMBC Atmospheric Lidar Group corroborates that data as the Ozone Sonde reported a mixing ratio of .09 to .095 ppmv (parts per million by volume.) The Moderate Ozone level extended to be around 2 kilometers high.

Walker Fire in California; Accidental Fires leading to Large Bush Fires in Eastern Australia

The  NASA Worldview image above shows that there are two clear streams of smoke that originate from Eastern Australia. Reuters has reported that these are two bush fires that may have both been started either accidentally or maliciously by young teenagers in the area. Due to Australia having a dry season it has become easy for these small bush fires to grow into massive fires that release large amounts of smoke. The  NASA Worldview image below shows that there are clear trails of particulate matter being released by the smoke. 

The  NRL/Monterey Aerosol below shows that the smoke concentration in the Eastern Australian region to reach more than 512 ug/m^3. These fires are taking place mostly in Queensland Australia.


This image taken by the NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite shows the Walker fire that is taking place in California. INCIWEB reports that the fire started on September 4th and has burned over 47 thousand acres with only 12 percent of it contained so far. The smoke has not spread over such a large area compared to the agricultural fires taking place in the South-east United States, but the smoke is much more concentrated as shown by the dark red spot in the NOAA HMS image below.

The  NRL/Monterey Aerosol image below shows that the smoke is concentrated on one area, yet is affecting a large portion of the Western United States.

Agricultural Fires in Southeast United States

In the NOAA HMS image above shows that there is moderate to low smoke covering the southeast part of the United States. This smoke is due to agricultural fires as farms are burning their land to prepare for the next farming season.  In the Aerosol Watch image below there is a clear path of higher AOD level that corresponds with the path of the smoke in the HMS image above.  The smoke is being pushed upward by the wind towards the Mid-East United States. We hope to see smoke in the Luft on a future date at UMBC.

Smoke Traveling Over Midwest, Agricultural Fires in Indonesia

The NOAA HMS image above shows that the Pedro Mountain Fire has been releasing smoke that has been traveling all across the Midwest on September 3rd. The result of this smoke is that states such as Kansas have been having worse air quality. In the AirNow Tech graph below the AQI actually reached Orange(Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals) as graphs show measurements well within the 33.5-55.4 µg/m3 range for an Orange AQI. INCIWEB reports that the Pedro Mountain fire was caused by a lightning strike and is 60% contained.


The FIRMS image above shows that there is a large concentration of fires taking place in Indonesia on August 3rd. The NRL/Monterey Aerosol image below shows that this smoke is spreading over the South East Asian Region. The New York Times reports that these fires are agricultural fires that are getting out of control.

The World Air Map, reports that the AQI in the city of  Palangkaraya, Indonesia has reached a Purple(Hazardous AQI) which is the range of 250.5 – 350.4 µg/m3 according to American standards on September 3rd.


Brazil Air Quality Affecting Children in City of Puerto Vuelo

Yahoo reported that the town of Puerto Vuelo has lines of parents waiting outside the local hospitals to get treatment for their children struggling to breathe due to the smoke created by the Amazon wildfire. The smoke in the region congests the lungs of young children in the region and even burning their eyes. Airports in the region have even been shut down due to the fire.

In the NASA Worldview images above it is clear that there is a concentrated amount of smoke in the region as shown by the dark red regions highlighted on the map. The smoke is visible from space as shown by the grey smoke emanating from the Amazon in the NASA Worldview image above.

The World Air Map, reports that on September 1st the AQI in the region reached a Red(Unhealthy Level) as the AQI reached 112 ppb well within the 96-115 ppb range that the US uses to rate their Unhealthy AQI category.  The region has also faced Very Unhealthy (116-374 ppb) levels many times within the last month.

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):


Air Pressure and the Transportation of Particles

This NOAA HMS image above shows that smoke from the Swan Lake Fire in Alaska is traveling in an interesting flow(Figure 1). The NASA Worldview image shows that the smoke is following the low-pressure curves as shown by the gaps in the clouds(Figure 2).

This pattern is also shown by the NRL/Monterey Aerosol image above(Figure 3).  The concentrated dust surface concentration is caused by sand from the Sahara shown in the NASA Worldview image below, crossing over the Atlantic to the Tropical Atlantic Region(Figure 4). However, the sand is shown moving in a curved pattern due to Hurrican Dorian (circled in red below).


In the NRL/Monterey Aerosol image above there is a cluster of smoke over the Pacific Ocean(Figure 5). This is supported by the NASA Worldview image below where the smoke matches the area where there are no clouds located(Figure 6).

Moderate to Unhealthy Ozone Levels in California; Swan Lake Fire Persists While its Smoke Travels to the East Coast

The AirNow map shows there was Moderate (Yellow) and Unhealthy (Red) levels of ozone east of Fresno and Los Angeles, California on August 27th (Figure 1).  

Crestline and Kernville air quality stations both indicate 8-hour ozone values corresponding to the air quality index (AQI) ranges. According to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the EPA begins warning at-risk groups at 55-70 ppb. Once ozone levels surpass 70 ppb, the AQI is reported to the public in that respective region by a range from “Good (Code Green)” all the way to “Hazardous (Code Purple).  

Above, the graph from AirNow-Tech displays a light blue curve (Crestline) and a yellow curve (Kernville)(Figure 2). At the Crestline station, 8-hour ozone values exceed 70 ppb starting at 7:00 UTC with a magnitude of 74 ppb (“Moderate”) and returning below the breakpoints at 19:00 UTC with a magnitude of 66 ppb (“Moderate”). The maximum ozone is at 105 ppb relating to the “Unhealthy” or “Code Red” range of AQI.

At the Kernville station, 8-hour ozone values exceed starting at 9:00 UTC and falling under 70 ppb at 18:00 UTC. The maximum ozone measurement is 103, which also corresponds to the “Unhealthy” or “Code Red” range of AQI.

Below, the table shows the exact values of ozone at each hour of the day at the air quality monitor stations(Figure 3).

NOAA’s HMS (Figure 4 and 5) shows heavy smoke in correspondence to the Swan Lake Fire in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness on August 27th. Five miles away from Sterling, Alaska, the incident spreads over 160,000 acres with only 28% of that perimeter contained. INCIWEB reports that the fire was started due to a lightning strike on June 5th, wildfires have endured to the month of August and do not intend to cease until temperatures drop and relative humidity rises. The estimated date of containment is said to be Sunday, September 15th, 2019.







Agricultural Fires Taking Place in Central Africa

Agricultural fires taking place in Central Africa is leading to large amounts of smoke being released into the atmosphere. The Nasa Worldview image above shows the smoke coming from the fires lit all over Central Africa (Figure 1). Due to so many fires being lit at the same time these fires are releasing a high amount of smoke particles as shown by the NRL/Monterey Aerosol image below which shows a smoke concentration of more than 250 ug/m^3 (Figure 2).

The Global Forest Watch Fire image below shows the multitude of fires that are all taking place at the same time, which due to all being at the same time shows up on a global scale (Figure 3). In an article by the European Space Agency on February 4th, 2019, they reported that these fires, “contribute 25–35% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.”