Agricultral Fires in Arkansas Releases High Particulate Matter; High Ozone in Los Angeles

The NOAA HMS image above shows that agricultural fires on farms in Arkansas are releasing heavy amounts of particulate matter into the atmosphere. UALR public radio reports that these fires are often due to farmers who do not have the equipment necessary to remove the straw from older harvests, thus choose to burn their fields to clear their fields for the new harvests. However, this has often lead to respiratory illnesses for the youth and elderly in the area.

The AirNow Map image above shows that on September 6th the Los Angeles area in Californa had a Code Red Ozone level (Unhealthy, 96-115 ppb.) The AirNow Tech graph below reports that there was a max 100 ppb in the area.

Fire In British Columbia Releases Smoke; Hurricane Lorenzo Sucking in Particulate Matter

The NOAA HMS image above shows that smoke originating from fires in British Columbia are drifting south along the West Coast of the United States. The Canadian Fire Hotspots Map below shows that many of the hotspots in Canada are located in British Columbia and close to where the smoke is originating from. The  NRL/Monterey Aerosol below shows that the Smoke Surface concentration reaches a range of 64-128 ug/m**3 in the center of concentration of smoke.

The Copernicus Global image above shows how particulate matter from North Africa is being sucked into Hurricane Lorenzo as it travels across the Atlantic Ocean. In the NRL/Monterey Aerosol image below all forms of particulate matter, from dust to smoke and sulfates are curving towards Hurricane Lorenzo. The  NASA Worldview image below shows a satellite image of Hurricane Lorenzo.

Tame Levels of Air Quality in Maryland While Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri Experience Code Yellow

The AirNow Map image above shows the hourly air quality index (AQI) of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri while the AirNow Map image below shows the hourly AQI of Maryland. On September 19th, the collective region of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri show that the combined particulate matter and ozone contribute to Moderate (Code Yellow, Index Values of 51-100) level of AQI. Comparatively, the map of Maryland indicates Good (Code Green, Index Values of 0-50) levels of AQI.

The NOAA STAR Aerosol Watch images above agree with the AirNow images of these respective states. These trajectory forecasts plot aerosol optical depths (AOD) in color contours and air parcel trajectory forecast in magenta to white colors. These animations emphasize the potential vertical movement of high aerosol loads in the troposphere. Darker color trajectories indicate a flow of air towards the surface while white color trajectories indicate an upward movement in the airflow.

Sahara Sand Going towards South America; High Levels of Ozone in Nevada

The AirNow Map image above shows that on September 18th the there was a high concentration of Ozone near Las Vegas Nevada. The AirNow Tech graph below reports that the air quality in Lincoln Nevada reached a Yellow AQI (Moderate, 60-75 ppb).

  

The NRL/Monterey Aerosol images above show that sand from the Sahara has been moving West from the Sahara towards South America.  However, due to Hurricane Humberto, the sand is also being pulled toward the East of the United States.  The  NASA Worldview image below shows a large concentration of sand off the coast of Morroco.

 

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.

Hurricane Humberto

Hurricane Humberto has become a Category 3 storm. The National Hurricane Center reports that Humberto has sustained wind speeds of up to 115 mph. The Hurricane is on a path to possibly to collide with Bermuda in its path of destruction. It is expected to travel towards the north a fair distance away from the East Coast of the United States. Huberto is expected to remain a hurricane until Thursday at which point it should weaken into a tropical storm. Even if Hurricane Humberto may not strike Bermuda directly it could still raise the sea level from 1-3 feet which may flood coastal areas.

The NASA Worldview image above is an image of Hurricane Humberto on September 16th from space.

Above is a National Hurricane Center graphic showing the likely path that Hurricane Humberto will take in the coming days.

Sand Traveling from Sahara Across Mediterranean; Middle Fire in California

The NOAA HMS image above shows the Middle Fire that was taking place in California on September 15th. INCIWEB reports that the fire had been started on September 5th by a lightning strike and although close to 600 acres had been burned, it is now currently contained. The fire had released a long strand of moderate smoke across Oregon. The Aerosol Watch image below shows more clearly the stream of smoke originating from the Middle Fire in California.

The  NASA Worldview image shows sand originating from the Sahara traveling across the Mediterranean Sea towards Italy. The  NRL/Monterey Aerosol image below shows that sands are being carried upward through winds towards Italy and other European countries.

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.