Black carbon from wildfires carried east by jet stream winds •

Last update: December 1st, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a series of satellite maps of black carbon streaming across the United States as a result of the devastating wildfires in the West. Massive smoke plumes from dozens of fires were carried east by jet stream winds and manipulated by tropical cyclones in the Atlantic.

The black carbon data comes from the GEOS forward processing (GEOS-FP) model, which combines data from satellite, aircraft, and ground-based observing systems. The images of the storms were captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite.

Even though the maps show that the smoke covers the entire United States, the effects on air quality are not the same at ground level. From September 14-16, the air quality near the fires in California and Oregon was very unhealthy and hazardous, yet air quality in the eastern U.S. remained largely unaffected.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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