Identifying fire plumes in the Arctic with tropospheric FTIR measurements and transport models

We investigate Arctic tropospheric composition using ground-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) solar absorption spectra, recorded at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL, Eureka, Nunavut, Canada, 80°05' N, 86°42' W) and at Thule (Greenland, 76°53' N, -68°74' W) from 2008 to 2012. The target species, carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), ethane (C₂H₆), acetylene (C₂H₂), formic acid (HCOOH), and formaldehyde (H₂CO) are emitted by biomass burning and can be transported from mid-latitudes to the Arctic. By detecting simultaneous enhancements of three biomass burning tracers (HCN, CO, and C₂H₆), ten and eight fire events are identified at Eureka and Thule, respectively, within the 5-year FTIR time series. Analyses of Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model back-trajectories coupled with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) fire hotspot data, Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport (STILT) model footprints, and Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) UV aerosol index maps, are used to attribute burning source regions and travel time durations of the plumes. By taking into account the effect of aging of the smoke plumes, measured FTIR enhancement ratios were corrected to obtain emission ratios and equivalent emission factors. The means of emission factors for extratropical forest estimated with the two FTIR data sets are 0.40 ± 0.21 g kg⁻¹ for HCN, 1.24 ± 0.71 g kg⁻¹ for C₂H₆, 0.34 ± 0.21 g kg⁻¹ for C₂H₂, and 2.92 ± 1.30 g kg⁻¹ for HCOOH. The emission factor for CH3OH estimated at Eureka is 3.44 ± 1.68 g kg⁻¹. To improve our knowledge concerning the dynamical and chemical processes associated with Arctic pollution from fires, the two sets of FTIR measurements were compared to the Model for OZone And Related chemical Tracers, version 4 (MOZART-4). Seasonal cycles and day-to-day variabilities were compared to assess the ability of the model to reproduce emissions from fires and their transport. Good agreement in winter confirms that transport is well implemented in the model. For C₂H₆, however, the lower wintertime concentration estimated by the model as compared to the FTIR observations highlights an underestimation of its emission. Results show that modeled and measured total columns are correlated (linear correlation coefficient r > 0.6 for all gases except for H₂CO at Eureka and HCOOH at Thule), but suggest a general underestimation of the concentrations in the model for all seven tropospheric species in the high Arctic.

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Author Viatte, C.
Strong, K.
Hannigan, James
Nussbaumer, Eric
Emmons, Louisa
Conway, S.
Paton-Walsh, C.
Hartley, J.
Benmergui, J.
Lin, J.
Publisher UCAR/NCAR - Library
Publication Date 2015-03-02T00:00:00
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Topic Category geoscientificInformation
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Metadata Date 2023-08-18T18:58:08.099111
Metadata Record Identifier edu.ucar.opensky::articles:16481
Metadata Language eng; USA
Suggested Citation Viatte, C., Strong, K., Hannigan, James, Nussbaumer, Eric, Emmons, Louisa, Conway, S., Paton-Walsh, C., Hartley, J., Benmergui, J., Lin, J.. (2015). Identifying fire plumes in the Arctic with tropospheric FTIR measurements and transport models. UCAR/NCAR - Library. Accessed 21 September 2023.

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