Analyzing the Impact of Canadian Wildfires on Air Quality in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic with data and tools from NASA's Atmospheric Sciences Data Center
Wildfires pose a growing concern in North America due to their harmful impacts on air quality and public health, with increased wildfire activity in recent years leading to widespread smoke plumes that can transcend borders. The exposure of New York City (NYC), the most populous city in North America, to Canadian wildfire smoke highlights the substantial implications for public health and urban environments. To better understand the impact of Canadian wildfires on air quality in NYC, satellite data from the NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) at Langley Research Center, along with ground-based measurements and atmospheric modeling results, are analyzed. We examine concentrations of atmospheric aerosols—particularly PM2.5 particulate matter originating from Canadian wildfires—their dispersion patterns, and the duration and intensity of smoke events impacting NYC. Data from multiple satellites, such as those from the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), are synergistically used to identify regions affected by wildfires and estimate aerosol loading. Ground-based measurements, including data from air quality monitoring stations, provide localized information for validation and calibration purposes.
The findings of this study contribute to our understanding of the impact of Canadian wildfires on NYC's air quality and emphasize the importance of monitoring and prediction of transboundary smoke events using data synthesized from multiple sources, such as those provided by the ASDC. This information is crucial for policymakers, public health officials, and residents in affected areas to develop effective strategies for mitigating the health risks associated with wildfire smoke and improving air quality during wildfire seasons. The utilization of ASDC data in this research highlights the critical role of atmospheric remote sensing in addressing the challenges posed by wildfires and their consequences on regional scales. This poster was presented as part of the 2024 January Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Meeting held virtually (Jan 23-26, 2024).