5B: Satellite views of wide-spread pollution from western U.S. wildfires in September, 2017

On September 5, 2017, there were more than 80 large fires burning in nine western U.S. states.

People living in large stretches of northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho were breathing “hazardous” air according to AirNow (https://www.airnow.gov ). Measurements of carbon monoxide (CO) from the EOS/Terra MOPITT (Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere) instrument, which are processed at ACOM, are now available in the NASA Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) system, as of 18 August, 2017. MOPITT near real-time data are also assimilated by ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) and used for operational air quality prediction in the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS: http://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/).

September 7, 2017 screen shot of the NASA Worldview website

Figure 1. September 7, 2017 screen shot of the NASA Worldview website (https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/) showing Terra/MODIS aerosol optical depth (yellow to red), Terra/MOPITT carbon monoxide total column (pink to green) and Terra/MODIS true color radiance (clouds). Enhanced carbon monoxide concentrations are present in the same areas as high aerosol loading over fires in North and South America. Hurricanes Irma and Jose can be seen be in the Atlantic. MOPITT does not retrieve CO in the presence of clouds, as indicated by the interrupted swaths of MOPITT data.