Tracking smoke from fires to improve air quality forecasting

phys.org | 9/4/2017 | Staff
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Wildfires raged across the western United States in September 2017, producing smoke that traveled across the country. The natural-color mosaic was made from several scenes acquired on September 4, 2017, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens and Jesse Allen, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Credit: Banner Image: Wildfires raged across the western United States in September 2017, producing smoke that traveled across the country. The natural-color mosaic was made from several scenes acquired on September 4, 2017, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens and Jesse Allen, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.

NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory took to the skies on Monday to kick off a two-month investigation into the life cycles of smoke from fires in the United States. The goal is to better understand smoke impact on weather and climate and provide information that will lead to improved air quality forecasting.

Campaign - NASA - National - Oceanic - Atmospheric

A joint campaign led by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) is targeting broad questions about the chemical and physical properties of fire smoke, how it is measured and how it changes from the moment of combustion to its final fate hundreds or thousands of miles downwind. All of these have implications for public health.

"Ultimately, our goal is to better understand complex smoke-atmosphere interactions to improve the models for air quality forecasts, leading to increased accuracy and earlier notification, which are critical for communities downwind of fires," said FIREX-AQ co-investigator Barry Lefer, tropospheric composition program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "That common purpose is what...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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