Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dec 31 -

Another low wind, high PM evening at SPCY. It warmed up to a very nice day today with some highs more than 10 degrees above average. Looking at the highs around the region, the Las Cruces airport reached 68, El Paso airport 70, and Deming 71.  Below are this morning's observations at a few NWS Cooperative weather stations.

                 Yesterday           Today
Station       High(F)  Normal     Low(F)  Normal  Record Low
NMSU            66        55        29      28      6 (1895)
Antelope Wells  71        61        29      28     17 (2010)
Hachita         64        56        23      26      6 (1958)

The Airnow AQI forecast for our region is green or good air quality. However, with the low winds today we're seeing a build up in pollutants.
I was at the SPCY station today swapping filters and I could smell a whiff of wood burning now and then the whole time I was there from 3:30 to 4:30pm.  I'm not totally sure it was wood but it had that kind of semi-sweet smell similar to when I visited an old time blacksmith's shop. There were some smoke plumes in Mexico while I was there. I took some photos but my camera corrupted the memory card.  

Here I describe the particle counter that I installed at the SPCY station.
There was a 6-hour long low wind, high PM event at the SPCY station tonight. Peak hourly PM2.5 was 138 µg/m3 at 7 pm. The chart below shows the hourly PM10, PM2.5, and 10 meter wind speed from the NMED station.
The particle sizer clearly shows the low wind event with the 0.3 micron size bin increasing by a factor of 20 to 30 during the event compared to mid-day values. The chart below shows the particle count data for the 0.3 and 10 micron bins over the past two days. Up to this point we have collected enhanced data on the nature of the low wind PM spike for two episodes (highlighted in yellow).

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