NASA Sees Nitrogen Dioxide Levels from the Pagami Creek Fire in Minnesota
The Pagami Creek fire in northern Minnesota, sparked by a lightning strike in mid-August, intensified significantly on September 11 and 12, creating a smoke plume visible from space that drifted to create hazy skies over Chicago, and subsequently traveled over the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2
) generated by the fire was measured by the Ozone Measuring Instrument (OMI) on the NASA Aura satellite, with high levels indicating the area where the fire was most intense. The wind-driven fire also created large pyrocumulonimbus clouds observed by NASA’s MODIS instrument on the Terra and Aqua satellites.
The image of NO2
levels was created from OMI NO2
data averaged over the period from September 11-12, 2011, when winds drove the Pagami Creek fire 16 miles in Minnesota. The image was created using the NASA Giovanni system by Dr. James Acker at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The OMI NO2
data product provides the tropospheric observed vertical column density of atmospheric
molecules above a one square centimeter area on the ground.
Four images of the OMI Ultraviolet (UV) Aerosol Index, a data product indicating the levels of suspended atmospheric particles (like ash and soot from fires), show the movement of the heavy smoke cloud from the Pagami Creek fire. On September 13, the cloud was over eastern Quebec. On the 14th, it was located above the central North Atlantic Ocean, and the following day it moved over Ireland and Scotland. On September 16, atmospheric winds lengthened the smoke cloud, so that it was located above parts of Poland, Ukraine, and Russia.
(Note: The OMI NO2
algorithm used for the standard OMI NO2
product is in the process of enhancement. In the updated product the actual NO2
amount will change but no major change in the observed features is expected. The new processed data is expected to be released in near future. The current OMI NO2
data should only be used for visualization, not for research analysis.)
OMI data is archived at the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC). The OMI sensor on the NASA Aura satellite is provided by KNMI, the Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute). Dr. P.F. Levelt is the Principal Investigator of OMI, Dr. J. Tamminen is the Finnish Co-PI, and Dr. P.K. Bhartia leads the U.S. OMI science team. Dr. Nickolay Krotkov is PI of the OMI NO2
standard product. The NASA Giovanni system is developed by the NASA GES DISC for data exploration and visualization of NASA remote sensing data.
James G. Acker
NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center