Saturday, November 17, 2018

California Air Pollution & Smoke Maps

The EPA has published a handy guide which provides advice on how you can minimize your risk from smoke and air pollution in California. Fire and Your Health suggests that you avoid the smoke as much as possible. If recommended you should stay indoors, run your air conditioner (if you have one), and pay attention to local air quality reports.

The Environmental Protection Agency's AirNow website has a map of the USA showing the latest Air Quality Index scores across the whole country. The map shows that huge areas of the state are currently experiencing dangerous levels of air pollution. However the static map is a little hard to read. You should therefore refer to the Current Air Quality Index (AQI) Conditions for Californian Cities which provides a list of the latest AQI ratings for all the major urban centers in California.

The New York Time's Tracking the Dangerous Smoke Plume map uses the latest estimates of surface-level smoke from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The map is being updated every six hours. You can view the same surface-level smoke estimates on NOAA's interactive map, NOAA HDRR Smoke. NOAA's map also allows you to view the latest vertically integrated smoke forecasts and fire detection data.

NASA's Earth Observatory has released an animated map showing how black carbon from the Camp Fire has been moving across Northern California. In Camp Fire Spreads Foul Air in California NASA explains that black carbon is particularly harmful as the particles in black carbon are small enough to enter the lungs and bloodstream.

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