Ambee's Latest Release: Introducing Smoke Plumes API with Smoke Data Insights

May 19, 2024
2 min read
Ambee's Latest Release: Introducing Smoke Plumes API with Smoke Data InsightsAmbee's Latest Release: Introducing Smoke Plumes API with Smoke Data Insights

📢We have an announcement!

Following the successful launch of our Geocoding API and Natural Disasters APIs, we’re happy to unveil the latest in our ever-growing suite of advanced APIs.

We’re proud to launch Smoke Plumes by Ambee.

What are smoke plumes?

Smoke plumes, often seen billowing into the sky during wildfires, industrial accidents, or volcanic eruptions, are complex atmospheric phenomena that can have far-reaching consequences. These towering columns of smoke consist of particles, gases, and aerosols, and their formation can be attributed to a variety of natural and human-induced factors.

Volcanic Plume as Observed in Iceland
Volcanic Plume as Observed in Iceland

As mentioned above, these massive columns of smoke can be caused by many events.

The picture above shows a volcanic plume from this year. 

When a volcano erupts, it spews out molten rock, ash, and volcanic gases. The interaction between hot volcanic materials and the atmosphere results in the formation of towering volcanic plumes. These plumes can reach high altitudes and pose threats to aviation and local communities.

One of the other most common sources of smoke plumes is wildfires.

These infernos ignite forests, grasslands, or shrublands, releasing copious amounts of smoke into the atmosphere. The intense heat causes surrounding vegetation to combust, generating not only smoke but also embers that can travel great distances.

In a world already grappling with environmental challenges, understanding the far-reaching impacts of smoke plumes is crucial. They're not just momentary columns of smoke– they're catalysts of change. And not a happy one.

Why smoke plumes?

Smoke plumes emit a combination of harmful pollutants, including airborne particulates, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds. Breathing in these pollutants can lead to respiratory problems, exacerbate existing health conditions, and pose severe health risks, especially for vulnerable populations like children and the elderly.

In the USA alone, smoke-attributable deaths have reached thousands in the last few years.

Which is why smoke data enhances the actionability when combined with local wildfire and air quality data.

Suggested read: How Organisations Can Use Air Quality and Fire Data to Tackle Fire-Related Issues

Additionally, smoke plumes drastically reduce visibility, creating hazardous driving conditions and increasing the risk of accidents. In extreme cases, they can lead to road closures and disrupted transportation networks.

Smoke Plumes Still Iceland
Smoke Plumes Still Iceland

We also cannot forget the larger and lesser acknowledged impact on the environment and the climate as a whole.

Smoke plumes have detrimental effects on ecosystems, leaving a lasting imprint on the environment, sometimes irreversibly. They deposit ash and pollutants over wide areas, contaminating soil, and water sources–and harming aquatic life, vegetation, and wildlife habitats

In the bigger scheme of things, smoke plumes inject large quantities of aerosols and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This can contribute to climate change in many different ways.

The resulting aerosols are known to modify cloud formation and precipitation, as well as disrupt the Earth's radiative balance, and, in some situations, momentarily cool the globe by sunlight scattering.

What’s concerning is that wildfire-caused smoke clouds are only predicted to get worse each year.

These are pressing concerns–one that mustn’t go unaddressed. So here’s how we’re answering the questions raised by smoke plumes

What is Ambee’s Smoke Plumes API?

Ambee’s Smoke Plumes API provides insight into smoke caused by wildfires and other events at a daily refresh rate. For any particular lat long, this API will give you information on the smoke’s density (light, medium, heavy) and its associated integer value.

Derived from trusted sources like NOAA and a network of geostationary satellites,

Ambee’s Smoke Plumes API ensures reliable and accurate delivery.

Here is an overview of the response parameters that this API currently offers–

Smoke Plumes Response Parameters
Smoke Plumes Response Parameters

Have a look at the documentation to understand all the response parameters and make your first call in just a few clicks.

Important: Please note that this data is only available for North America as of yet. Keep an eye out on this space for updates on future enhancements.

How can smoke plume data be used?

The Smoke Plumes API, in conjunction with Air Quality, Wildfire, and many more of our datasets, serves a wide array of applications across industries and research areas. Here are a few of them listed below:

1. Wildfire Management and Forestry

Forestry and firefighting rely heavily on smoke plume data for early detection and resource allocation. This data aids in assessing fire direction and intensity, improving firefighting strategies, and protecting lives.

2. Air Quality and Public Health

Smoke plume data can assist municipalities and healthcare organizations in monitoring air quality during wildfires or industrial incidents. This information facilitates timely health advisories and resource allocation for affected areas. Furthermore, researchers can utilize long-term smoke exposure data to study its impact on respiratory diseases, contributing to preventive measures.

3. Aviation and Transportation:

The aviation industry ensures flight safety by utilizing smoke plume data to adjust routes during volcanic eruptions or wildfires, reducing hazards. The transportation industries plan routes and mitigate visibility-related hazards during extreme weather events using this information.

4. Energy and Utilities:

Power generation facilities and utilities monitor smoke plumes to protect infrastructure. Renewable energy providers predict solar irradiance reductions due to air quality degradation, optimizing energy production.

5. Environmental Conservation:

Environmental Conservation organizations assess wildfire and volcanic eruption impact on recovery efforts and biodiversity preservation. Long-term data helps study their influence on climate change and biodiversity.

6. Insurance and Risk Assessment:

The insurance industry uses smoke plume data to evaluate and price policies in high-risk areas. Risk management firms develop tools to predict the financial impact of smoke-related disasters, enabling informed decisions.

Get started now

To start with our Smoke Plumes API, head over to our API dashboard and sign up/log in for the Smoke Plumes API key. If you want to learn more about the API, explore our comprehensive documentation, including an end-point, sample response, parameters list, and more.

If you have any questions or queries, reach out to us!

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