fbpx

Smoke from west? No, dust from east

-

Did the huge forest fires on the US West Coast in September impact air quality in Europe? Not really, the measurements show.

What did have an impact, was dust transported by winds from south east.

An unusual weather type for Northern Europe has brought particles from the south eastern part of Europe. The particles are likely dust from dry soil in agricultural areas, travelling with the wind to Northwest Europe. The impact on air quality this weekend was quite noticeable, as the graphs below show.

The very north, like Tromsø, was particularly hard hit by the winds. However, the days ahead should bring cleaner air and lower air pollution levels also to the arctic city.

PM10 Daily averages. Measurements from OpenAQ.org.
PM10 Daily averages. Measurements from OpenAQ.org.

PM10 Daily averages. Measurements from OpenAQ.org.
PM10 Daily averages. Measurements from OpenAQ.org.

Smoke from the US forest fires didn’t reach ground level in Europe

The animation below illustrates how particles were transported across the Atlantic from the US West Coast, and reached Europe around September 20. We see no trace of this in the measurements above.

Aerosol optical depths 18-22 September 2020, showing transport of particles from the forest fires on the US West Coast. Video by Windy.com.

In our previous story we took a closer look on the air quality on the US West Coast in the middle of September. As of today, California forests are still burning, giving dangerously poor air quality in large parts of the state.

Want to keep an eye on the air quality levels?

Try the Airmine app, available in Appstore and Google Play. Hourly air quality forecasts, pollen levels for Europe and a personal symptoms diary and analysis.

Stay updated!

We keep your data private.

Airmine app

Track your symptoms to air pollution and pollen & get local air quality forecasts

Get it on Google Play

Latest

The accidental badger detector

PM2.5 levels peaked late at night and early mornings at our sensor test site and we struggled to find out why. Turns out the answer had fur and four legs.

We’re measuring pollen!

We are running our airminer 2.0 sensors to calculate local pollen levels. As expected, pollen levels vary with temperature and precipitation, but we also see significant variations through the day.

When to expect birch pollen in Norway?

Hazel and alder is flowering in Southern Norway, but the key allergen to many of us is birch. When can we expect the birch pollen season to start?

Spring in Europe – alder, hazel and birch pollen

We are heading into warmer and lighter days in Europe, lockdowns or not. And no surprise, the pollen is faithfully here.

Green in India means red in Norway

We've attempted to compare the different PM2.5 breakpoints in selected air quality indices. It turns out a green level does not mean the same around the world.

Air quality in Europe – it’s going the right way

EEA's recent report gives hope for the air quality in Europe. Most pollutants have been reduced the last decade, but Eastern Europe is still heavily affected.
00:00:24