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Air Quality Remote Sensing Program

Near Real Time Monitoring of Smoke Plumes from
the October 2007 California Fires by NOAA GOES Imager

The San Diego fire of October 21-24, 2007 is the fourth largest fire in the last three decades, which burned more than 200,000 acres and emitted more than 9,000 tons of PM 2.5 (particulate matter with particles smaller than 2.5 microns that are harmful to human health). The NOAA GOES Imager gives a near real-time monitoring of smoke plumes from this fire. The hourly emissions of the PM2.5 from wildfire in California is shown in Figure 1. Circles with bright colors indicate high emissions. Figure 2 shows hourly animation for the GOES aerosol optical depth (AOD). Areas with red colors indicates high particulate pollution.

Figure 1. PM 2.5 Animation

Figure 1. PM 2.5 Emissions from the October 2007 Calfornia Wildfires

Click on image to view animation
in a new window (GIF, 4MB)

Figure 2. Hourly Animation of GOES AOD
October 22 & 23, 2007 - California Wildfires

animated image: October 2007 California fires smoke

Click on image to view animation
in a new window (WMV, 2.5MB)


To provide observational support to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) for air quality monitoring and forecasting.


Air quality products from NOAA's operational geostationary and polar-orbiting satellite sensors.


timeline graphic for Air Quality project; full text description follows;By 2010 and beyond, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) will have an improved air quality forecast system due to the incorporation of air quality products from NOAA's geostationary and polar-orbiting satellite sensors into its air quality forecast system.

Ongoing Science Advances

  • 2002 - 2004:

    Development of GOES AOD and its air quality applications;

  • 2004 - 2006:

    Improvements to operational GOES AOD algorithm;

Science Advances from New Efforts

  • 2005 - 2008:

    Derive PM2.5 Emissions

  • 2006 - 2010:

    Chemical data assimilation studies with NOAA, MeTOP and NASA (Aura / Ozone Monitoring Instrument) satellite data;

    IJPS GOME-2 product development;

    GOES-R algorithm / product development;

    NPOESS product development;

Data, algorithms, and images presented on STAR websites are intended for experimental use only and are not supported on an operational basis.  More information

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