S15 Studies in California Wildfires, Aerosols, and Health Effects

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Lenetta Mallory, NCAS, Jackson, MS; and J. Darensbourg, R. S. Reddy, and M. Fadavi

This study has been undertaken for the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) Project at Jackson State University to investigate the interactions of PM 2.5 Ám and the Rim Fire of August 17, 2013. The Rim Fire is the third largest wildfire that California has ever seen before. The fire started just miles away from Yosemite National Park in the county of Tuolumne on August 17, 2013 and finally destroyed September 6, 2013. The fire spread through the forests and parts of Nevada with 257,314 acres burned. The damages took a toll, especially on Yosemite National Park with having part of its forest burned to the ground and beginning the restoration process to regrow the trees and plants. This study will compare PM 2.5 Ám and the ozone concentration for the aforementioned event over several closest cities to the fire. Using EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) the effects of the fire increased the temperatures to the surrounding cities like Groveland, California and Yosemite National Park that were examined by the Almanac. The Rim Fire burned down acres in a matter of days and this caused the temperature to increase with the burning fire and smoke. Thus a concern of possible health effects caused by California's Rim Fire can affect a person's respiratory system, cause chronic lung and heart issues and also cause irritation to your eyes. The smoke raised to higher levels in the atmosphere that will cause small aerosol particles to be suspended in the air that are suppressed in the winds at the higher pressure levels. The rich PM 2.5 Ám can reflect the sun's short-wave radiation and can lead to atmospheric cooling and enhanced condensation. The increasing aerosols in the atmosphere affected the decrease in the ozone concentration.
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