Wildfire Weather Package
The US-centric wildfire weather package includes wildfire locations and potential surface smoke impact as a feature service. The smoke impact layers are updated each hour and are provided as a 6-hour, hour-by-hour forecast. Each forecast hour is valid for a Zulu time is updated at 10 minutes past the hour each hour of the day.
Smoke Categories are based on potential smoke impact as it relates to the concentration of smoke particles at the near-surface environment.
Wildfire Smoke from Western Wildfires Chokes New York City on July 20, 2021
In mid-July of 2021, explosive wildfires in Oregon, California and parts of Canada sent wildfire smoke thousands of feet into the atmosphere. That smoke was captured by the jet stream and transported from the western U.S. and Canada to the U.S. East Coast. While this is not uncommon, this event was notable due to thickness of the smoke and time of year. Ordinarily, it’s not as thick and usually remains suspended at high altitudes rather than near the surface, where it doesn’t affect air quality at ground level. Wildfire smoke is also more likely to impact the East later in the summer and the fall. This event occurred in July and created some of the worst air quality on record for cities like New York City and Philadelphia.
- New York City observed its worst air quality in 14 years, with the highest air quality index (AQI) value since 2007.
- For a brief period, New York City also had the worst air quality of all major cities in the world.
Since 1970, six times as many acres burn each year on average across the Western United States. Additionally, the annual number of large wildfires has more than tripled, and the season is more than 100 days longer. Warming temperatures and worsening drought attributed to climate change are the main drivers. The changing climate will impact wildfire smoke and air quality too. Hotter summers have a greater likelihood of “stagnation events” caused by the stationary areas of high pressure - the same weather phenomena that cause heat waves. Stagnation events lead to air quality issues by trapping pollutants, like wildfire smoke, at the lower levels of the atmosphere. There is a positive correlation between summer maximum temperatures and the number of summer stagnant days in 98% of the contiguous U.S. cities. For some locations, this will mean up to 40 more days a year with poor air quality by the end of the century.
What is Zulu time?
Zulu time, also known as UTC, Universal Co-ordinated Time, is the same time all around the world. There are neither time zones nor daylight saving time. Zulu time (UTC) is based on GMT, Greenwich Mean Time. Knowing this if you live in NewYork and it is 10pm EST Saturday night to convert the time to UTC you would get 3am Sunday morning as time and date.
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Jan 19, 2022