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Author Topic: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?  (Read 7711 times)

wehappyfew

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Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« on: February 29, 2016, 06:03:11 AM »
Take a look at Nullschool over the last few days:

http://earth.nullschool.net/#2016/02/27/0000Z/chem/surface/level/overlay=cosc/orthographic=-123.28,46.56,1306/loc=-119.696,36.535

CO levels at 46,000 ppbv - that is dangerously high, causes headaches and worse,
CO2 at 860ppm.

The anomalous readings cover much of the West Coast from Vancouver to Baja Mexico, and inland from Arizona, Utah, to Alberta.

Has anybody ever seen such crazy levels before? First sighted on robert scribblers blog in the comments. A study linking CO emissions to imminent earthquake activity was cited.

I am more inclined to think it is some kind of sensor or processing glitch...

... any thoughts?




wili

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2016, 04:02:55 PM »
here's the link to the rs piece:

http://robertscribbler.com/2016/02/29/carbon-monoxide-spikes-to-34000-parts-per-billion-over-california-on-february-26-what-the-heck-is-going-on/#comment-70182

He seems to have been scooped by a couple days by this guy:

https://www.superstation95.com/index.php/world/950

I don't see anything in msm about it. I have a friend in public works in LA, and I just texted her asking what people are saying...I'll keep y'all posted.

[ETA: She just got back to me: Hadn't heard anything about it. Found it 'seriously scary.'

I'm surprised there's not more about health local/regional effects. CO is not a very nice thing to get in your system. At least it's not as heavy of a gas as CO2, so it's not likely to be heavily blanketing any areas.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 04:23:23 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

wili

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 05:37:18 PM »
This guy, commenting on rs blog, thinks it might just be people burning off unproductive orchards:

Quote
There was a conspicuous abundance of fires all over the valley, many of which were creating towering black plumes of smoke visible for many miles. Really nasty black plumes in some cases. A couple of the fires looked like a refinery or something way off over the horizon.

For those unfamiliar with the somewhat disturbed rhythms of Sacramento Valley agriculture, whenever an orchard loses productivity, they often just cut down the trees, bulldoze the whole thing into a mountainous pile, wait for the right stretch of dry weather (but not too dry!) followed by some nice light breeze and uplift to get most of the smoke aloft, and light er’ up. I would assume that accelerants are usually involved. There’s an unusual amount of orchard retirement tied up in the drought (younger trees take less water and stressed older trees are less productive) and we just had a dry month

Given how wide spread it is and how it all comes up at the same time, this seems unlikely to me to be an explanation for the whole phenomenon.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

wehappyfew

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2016, 06:10:22 PM »
Thanks wili, more ground-truth observations like that are needed.

The highest levels were around Fresno, CA. Much of the Central Valley was very high... above the levels that cause headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath. The max I found was 46000 ppbv about 20 km south of Fresno on Feb 26 6pm local time.

One would think this would be a widely noticed event - even causing panic - if the millions of people in the Central Valley and neighboring areas were to all get dizziness and headaches.

I have found no media reporting this, and only a few anecdotal reports of actual health impacts from the crackpot areas of the internet - like this one:

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=448065




Bruce Steele

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2016, 07:38:54 PM »
 Wili, Agriculture burns are regulated by local fire departments here in Calif.  In order to do a burn you need first sign up and pay for a burn permit, have your brush pile inspected by the local fire dept. and then wait for a burn day. Everybody starts their fires at the same time because there are only some days when the fire dept. allows burns to be started. I don't know about the central valley but here in S.B. County where I live last week was the first approved burn day allowed in the last several months.
I think they( local fire dept.) wait for enough rain and moisture to deter chances of controlled burns
starting wildfires. I don't really know if other counties also allowed agriculture burns last week or if somehow multiple fire districts all allowed fires on the same day but it is a possibility. 

wili

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2016, 07:58:10 PM »
Thanks, Bruce. It seems like those official records and permits should be publicly available. So someone with time and gumption (not me!  ;D ) could potentially track them down?

It turns out that this also corresponds to an inversion in the area that would have concentrated emissions from whatever source near the ground, at least according to someone commenting on the Daily Kos.

It strikes me that if all those orchard keepers were given the green light on burning, just as a major inversion was setting in...someone didn't plan very well.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

solartim27

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2016, 08:09:17 PM »
I have found no media reporting this, and only a few anecdotal reports of actual health impacts from the crackpot areas of the internet - like this one:
http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=448065
This is from the above link, and to think his vote counts as much as mine.  I wonder who the 'they' are that he mentions.
Quote
They are saying the large cloud came from fires burning in Africa now. The live feed is ground level and wind. Its not extremely elevated but its a cumulative gas so its wiping out the ability to use oxygen and its 7-10 days to make new blood. I would think it was setting off CO alarms, but being indoors may cut that down to none.
At least now I know why I had a headache and felt tired, and that it wasn't the dogs barking at 2:30 am.
FNORD

wili

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2016, 08:13:39 PM »
whf wrote: "One would think this would be a widely noticed event - even causing panic - if the millions of people in the Central Valley and neighboring areas were to all get dizziness and headaches.

I have found no media reporting this"

That would assume that there is anything like investigative journalism going on anymore.

We have to go to the movies to see any of that, these days.  :-\
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

solartim27

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 08:22:58 PM »
Here is another study seen on the RS blog comments.  The levels seen are nothing like what happened here, makes me really hope it's a temp inversion effect.
http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/13/2513/2013/nhess-13-2513-2013.pdf

There were active fires in Canada preceding this spike, and the highest levels I saw on nullschool were around 1000 ppb in very localized areas.

I do not think it looks like the event was triggered by some sort of ocean event
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967064506001317
FNORD

solartim27

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2016, 08:47:12 PM »
One would think this would be a widely noticed event - even causing panic - if the millions of people in the Central Valley and neighboring areas were to all get dizziness and headaches.
Levels would need to be much higher to notice, remember it's ppb, and the peak was in just a small area by Fresno.
50 ppm: No adverse effects with 8 hours of exposure.
200 ppm: Mild headache after 2-3 hours of exposure.
400 ppm: Headache and nausea after 1-2 hours of exposure.
800 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 45 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 1 hour of exposure.
(Data from http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/fire-and-safety-equipment/carbon-monoxide/symptoms-of-co-poisoning)
FNORD

wehappyfew

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2016, 09:42:04 PM »
I've seen 35ppm as being the level that causes headache and dizziness.

I'm sure some people are more sensitive to even lower levels, so scattered reports of symptoms after a state-wide lifting of the burning ban makes sense.

Thanks to Bruce Steele for the on-site reporting, and what looks to me like the most plausible explanation.

solartim27

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2016, 09:47:51 PM »
Nothing shows up for CO on the local AQMD monitoring site
http://www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/d-CO.htm

Ozone has a slight bump, but that is probably the temp inversion.
http://www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/d-O31.htm

Still, doesn't hurt to take a look at the emergency kits.
FNORD

wili

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2016, 10:01:29 PM »
But would they show up if the levels are still below what is officially considered toxic?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

CraigsIsland

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2016, 10:13:40 PM »
looks a lot different than the initial posting:

http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/chem/surface/level/overlay=cosc/orthographic=-122.41,45.70,1357/loc=-121.609,38.326

Would make sense if it's controlled burns. Time will tell.

Laurent

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2016, 10:18:16 PM »
Yes, it is over. We will test the seismic theory, in a few days...may be.
Carbon monoxide mainly causes adverse effects in humans by combining with hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin (HbCO) in the blood. This prevents hemoglobin from carrying oxygen to the tissues, effectively reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, leading to hypoxia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning

solartim27

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2016, 10:53:18 PM »
But would they show up if the levels are still below what is officially considered toxic?
Yes, the 46000 ppb spike would show up as around 46 ppm at the AQMD site. even the lower amounts would have been noticed.

Could the difference in surface vs satellite readings be that the CO was expelled forcefully from the fault to a higher altitude, and then did not mix back to the surface because of the temp inversion?
FNORD

folke_kelm

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2016, 08:07:05 AM »
As a geologist i tend to the hypothesis of seismic release of gases, but.....
i have heard rumors, that this is not more than a simulation of emissions of large scale wildfires that made it into nullschool.
Would it not be embarrassing that all jump onto this bandwaggon with lots of brainpower for nothing than a simulation for testing emission pathways?

J Cartmill

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2016, 12:21:37 PM »
I took a look at EOSDIS Worldview Aqua/AIRS CO overlay and didn't see anything like what was on the earth.nullschool map for those dates. Most of Southern California was clear with no signs of a massive burnoff.
Those levels dwarf the levels in China, so I would expect a good deal of smoke/haze.
Here is a link for the US airquality map for that day
https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.mapsarchivedetail&domainid=53&mapdate=20160227&tab=1

Lots of other good air quality data (mostly US) here:
http://alg.umbc.edu/usaq/


wehappyfew

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2016, 07:52:48 PM »
That's a fire. Lot's of smoke. Modis shows thermal anomalies.

see NASA Worldview:

http://go.nasa.gov/21AfMUt

Sigmetnow

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Re: Carbon Monoxide spike, US West Coast - or sensor glitch?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2016, 08:18:42 PM »
Sensor malfunction on the GOES-5 satellite.
Dr. Gavin Schmidt, head of GISS NASA, has confirmed the glitch in his twitter feed which you can read here. He notes:

The Elevated Carbon Monoxide concentrations in the GEOS 5 products since February 25 of 2016 are incorrect. They are the consequence of unrealistic CO emissions computed by our biomass burning algorithm, which is based on satellite observation of fires… GMAO is working to correct this problem.

http://robertscribbler.com/2016/02/29/carbon-monoxide-spikes-to-34000-parts-per-billion-over-california-on-february-26-what-the-heck-is-going-on/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.