Monday, February 29, 2016

Massive Carbon Monoxide Spike a Mystery

On February 26, 2015 The Global Forecast System model recorded an intense and wide-ranging carbon monoxide (CO) spike over the West Coast of North America. A region stretching from British Columbia, through Washington and Oregon, and on over most of California experienced CO readings ranging from about 5,000 parts per billion over the Southern mountains of B.C. to as high as 40,000 parts per billion over Southern California.

Peak readings appear from Northern California near Eureka and the southern edge of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and along a line south and eastward over Central California to just north and west of Los Angeles near Palmdale along the San Andreas Fault Line.
These readings are between 50 and 265 times above typical background CO levels of about 150 parts per billion. It appears that geological activity may have produced an intense burp of gas. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) readings were also elevated, with peak readings also appearing in Southwestern California.

No major geological organization has yet made any report on this large CO spike. However, scientific research in Nature Asia, by K. S. Jayaraman notes that major CO and SO2 spikes may be an indication of future earthquake activity.

Tectonic map of the Pacific Northwest, showing the Cascadia subduction zone.

Line on this map follows the surface trace of the San Andreas Fault

Relief map of the western United States with the background velocity field (relative to a fixed North American plate) determined from two decades of GPS