Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jan. 12- 14

Fairly strong low wind high PM events at SPCY over the last two days on Jan. 13 and 14.  Driving back from Tucson on Friday afternoon I saw that the playas west of Lordsburg were still very wet with a lot of water still filling the lower lying areas. The photo below shows the area around mile marker 12 on I-10 looking south.
Even though the low lying areas are saturated, the higher elevations are drying out and could yield dust if there were enough wind.

It looks like another low wind high PM epsidoe on Saturday night before the weather pattern changes.

Below are this morning's observations at a couple NWS Cooperative weather stations.
                 Yesterday            Today
Station       High(F) Normal    Low(F)  Normal  Record Low Precip
NMSU            55      58       25      27        5 (1963) 0.00"
Antelope Wells  52      60       20      25       17 (2011) 0.00"

The AQI forecast for today showed an area of moderate air quality over the southern NM and the Paso del Norte.
Sampling at the SPCY site started again tonight (Jan. 14) with a 6-hour run starting at 6 pm. The graph below shows the magnitude of the hourly PM10 and PM2.5 during the episode.
 At 11 pm the graphic below is what the NMED Air page showed for the SPCY site air quality index.
I spent the last couple of days at a Valley Fever and dust forecasting workshop in Tucson and was briefed on some of the latest research findings from those working on this disease. I am amazed at the complexity of this problem since it covers many disciplines and there are so many unknowns still after 50 years of work.  A lot of interest was stirred up from this past summer's haboob that engulfed the Phoenix area in July 2011. Some of the big questions that remain unanswered are where it is found, how it it transported from the soils to our lungs, and how long it survives in the atmosphere after leaving the soil.  The agricultural sector may be relieved that the main tilled and irrigated portions of the field is hostile to the fungi and not as likely to be a growth area. However the edges around the fields can be a more hospitable for the organism. Tucson had a bit of pollution especially noticeable in the morning with the inversion. Below is a look south toward downtown Tucson from the conference location at around 8:30am.

The battery was not charging when I visited the SPCY site on Saturday. I have not replacement items or tools so  I'll have to work on it on Sunday. There was some moisture around the datalogger box from last week so it might be related to that but not sure.

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