An animation of 3-hourly water vapor channel image composites from AWIPS during the entire month of March 2007 (41 MB QuickTime animation; 1280×1024 screen resolution required) shows the diverse variety of synoptic scale features that affected the Northern Hemisphere during that particular month.
A wildfire was set by arsonists in the Hollywood Hills near Hollywood, California on the afternoon of 30 March 2007. GOES-12 visible channel imagery (above; Java animation) shows the smoke plume that drifted south/southwestward; corresponding GOES-12 3.9µm InfraRed (IR) imagery (Java animation) revealed a local “hot spot” associated with the fire. The CIMSS GOES-11 Wildfire ABBA product (below) detected a “Processed Fire” (red pixel) as early as 20:30 UTC (1:30 PM local time); a 250-meter resolution Aqua MODIS true color image showed the early stages of the smoke plume at 20:47 UTC (1:47 PM local time).
An IDEA MODIS Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) image (above) depicted elevated AOD values of 0.6 to 0.8 over parts of the Southeast US (especially the northern half of Georgia) on 29 March 2007. Smoke from recent fire activity was likely the main contributor, but some of the elevated AOD signal may also have been due to very high pollen counts in that region — pine tree pollen has been unusually high this Spring season due to abnormally dry conditions that have plagued much of the southeastern US. In addition, light winds and increasing boundary layer moisture were helping to create an environment favorable for particle pollution growth — GOES sounder total precipitable water values of 25-35 mm were becoming more common over that particular region (below).